Hydraulic tomography is a promising approach for obtaining information on variations in hydraulic conductivity on the scale of relevance for contaminant transport investigations. This approach involves performing a series of pumping tests in a format similar to tomography. We present a field-scale assessment of hydraulic tomography in a porous aquifer, with an emphasis on the steady shape analysis methodology. The hydraulic conductivity (K) estimates from steady shape and transient analyses of the tomographic data compare well with those from a tracer test and direct-push permeameter tests, providing a field validation of the method. Zonations based on equal-thickness layers and cross-hole radar surveys are used to regularize the inverse problem. The results indicate that the radar surveys provide some useful information regarding the geometry of the K field. The steady shape analysis provides results similar to the transient analysis at a fraction of the computational burden. This study clearly demonstrates the advantages of hydraulic tomography over conventional pumping tests, which provide only large-scale averages, and small-scale hydraulic tests (e.g., slug tests), which cannot assess strata connectivity and may fail to sample the most important pathways or barriers to flow. Copyright 2007 by the American Geophysical Union.
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A field assessment of the value of steady shape hydraulic tomography for characterization of aquifer heterogeneities