A new approach is presented to condition geostatistical simulation of high-permeability zones in fractured rock to hydraulic-connection data. A simulated-annealing algorithm generates three-dimensional (3-D) realizations conditioned to borehole data, inferred hydraulic connections between packer-isolated borehole intervals, and an indicator (fracture zone or background-K bedrock) variogram model of spatial variability. We apply the method to data from the U.S. Geological Survey Mirror Lake Site in New Hampshire, where connected high-permeability fracture zones exert a strong control on fluid flow at the hundred-meter scale. Single-well hydraulic-packer tests indicate where permeable fracture zones intersect boreholes, and multiple-well pumping tests indicate the degree of hydraulic connection between boreholes. Borehole intervals connected by a fracture zone exhibit similar hydraulic responses, whereas intervals not connected by a fracture zone exhibit different responses. Our approach yields valuable insights into the 3-D geometry of fracture zones at Mirror Lake. Statistical analysis of the realizations yields maps of the probabilities of intersecting specific fracture zones with additional wells. Inverse flow modeling based on the assumption of equivalent porous media is used to estimate hydraulic conductivity and specific storage and to identify those fracture-zone geometries that are consistent with hydraulic test data.
Additional publication details
Identifying fracture-zone geometry using simulated annealing and hydraulic-connection data