This paper presents a basic study in generalized terms that originates from two needs: (1) to understand the major mechanisms involved in the mineralization of groundwater of the Great Bend Prairie aquifer of Kansas by saltwater originating from a deeper Permian bedrock formation, and (2) to develop simple, robust tools that can readily be used for local assessment and management activities in the salt-affected region. A simplified basic conceptual model is adopted, incorporating two horizontal layers of porous medium which come into contact at a specific location within the model domain. The top layer is saturated with freshwater, and the bottom layer is saturated with saltwater. The paper considers various stages of approximation which can be useful for simplified simulation of the build-up of the transition zone (TZ) between the freshwater and the saltwater. The hierarchy of approximate approaches leads to the development of the top specified boundary layer (TSBL) method, which is the major tool used in this study for initial characterization of the development of the TZ. It is shown that the thickness of the TZ is mainly determined by the characteristic dispersivity. The build-up of the TZ is completed after a time period equal to the time needed to advect a fluid particle along the whole extent of the TZ. Potential applications and the effects of natural recharge and pumpage on salinity transport in the domain are discussed and evaluated in the context of demonstrating the practicality of the TSBL approach.
Additional publication details
Application of the top specified boundary layer (TSBL) approximation to initial characterization of an inland aquifer mineralization 1. Direct contact between fresh and saltwater