Cross-borehole flowmeter pulse tests define subsurface connections between discrete fractures using short stress periods to monitor the propagation of the pulse through the flow system. This technique is an improvement over other cross-borehole techniques because measurements can be made in open boreholes without packers or previous identification of water-producing intervals. The method is based on the concept of monitoring the propagation of pulses rather than steady flow through the fracture network. In this method, a hydraulic stress is applied to a borehole connected to a single, permeable fracture, and the distribution of flow induced by that stress monitored in adjacent boreholes. The transient flow responses are compared to type curves computed for several different types of fracture connections. The shape of the transient flow response indicates the type of fracture connection, and the fit of the data to the type curve yields an estimate of its transmissivity and storage coefficient. The flowmeter pulse test technique was applied in fractured shale at a volatile-organic contaminant plume in Watervliet, New York. Flowmeter and other geophysical logs were used to identify permeable fractures in eight boreholes in and near the contaminant plume using single-borehole flow measurements. Flowmeter cross-hole pulse tests were used to identify connections between fractures detected in the boreholes. The results indicated a permeable fracture network connecting many of the individual boreholes, and demonstrated the presence of an ambient upward hydraulic-head gradient throughout the site.
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Using flowmeter pulse tests to define hydraulic connections in the subsurface: A fractured shale example