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Application of ground-penetrating radar, digital optical borehole images, and cores for characterization of porosity hydraulic conductivity and paleokarst in the Biscayne aquifer, southeastern Florida, USA

Journal of Applied Geophysics

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DOI: 10.1016/j.jappgeo.2003.06.005

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Abstract

This paper presents examples of ground-penetrating radar (GPR) data from two study sites in southeastern Florida where karstic Pleistocene platform carbonates that comprise the unconfined Biscayne aquifer were imaged. Important features shown on resultant GPR profiles include: (1) upward and lateral qualitative interpretative distribution of porosity and hydraulic conductivity; (2) paleotopographic relief on karstic subaerial exposure surfaces; and (3) vertical stacking of chronostratigraphic high-frequency cycles (HFCs). These characteristics were verified by comparison to rock properties observed and measured in core samples, and identified in digital optical borehole images. Results demonstrate that an empirical relation exists between measured whole-core porosity and hydraulic conductivity, observed porosity on digital optical borehole images, formation conductivity, and GPR reflection amplitudes-as porosity and hydraulic conductivity determined from core and borehole images increases, formation conductivity increases, and GPR reflection amplitude decreases. This relation allows for qualitative interpretation of the vertical and lateral distribution of porosity and hydraulic conductivity within HFCs. Two subtidal HFCs in the uppermost Biscayne aquifer have significantly unique populations of whole-core porosity values and vertical hydraulic conductivity values. Porosity measurements from one cycle has a median value about two to three times greater than the values from the other HFC, and median values of vertical hydraulic-conductivity about three orders of magnitude higher than the other HFC. The HFC with the higher porosity and hydraulic conductivity values is shown as a discrete package of relatively low-amplitude reflections, whereas the HFC characterized by lower porosity and hydraulic-conductivity measurements is expressed by higher amplitude reflections. Porosity and hydraulic-conductivity values measured from whole-core samples, and vuggy porosity identified on digital borehole images from shallowing-upward, peritidal HFCs show that the highest porosity occurs at the base of the cycles, moderate porosity at the middle of the cycles, and lowest porosity occurs at the top of cycles. Hydraulic conductivity is also highest at the base of the peritidal cycles and lowest in the middle to upper parts of cycles. This change in porosity and hydraulic conductivity from bottom to top is visible as an upward variation in reflection amplitude on GPR profiles-lowest amplitudes at the base and highest at the cycle tops. This study demonstrates that GPR can be used to show the qualitative distribution of porosity and hydraulic conductivity within a cycle-stratigraphic framework composed of carbonate HFCs. The distribution of porosity and hydraulic conductivity within HFCs is related to depositional textures. The upward and lateral patterns of the rock facies within the HFCs can be translated to geophysical-log properties and radar facies configurations that could aid in interpretation and prediction of ground-water flow through a carbonate aquifer. ?? 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Application of ground-penetrating radar, digital optical borehole images, and cores for characterization of porosity hydraulic conductivity and paleokarst in the Biscayne aquifer, southeastern Florida, USA
Series title:
Journal of Applied Geophysics
DOI:
10.1016/j.jappgeo.2003.06.005
Volume
55
Issue:
1-2
Year Published:
2004
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Applied Geophysics
First page:
61
Last page:
76
Number of Pages:
16