Identifying fracture‐zone geometry using simulated annealing and hydraulic‐connection data

Water Resources Research
By: , and 



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

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Identifying fracture‐zone geometry using simulated annealing and hydraulic‐connection data
Series title Water Resources Research
DOI 10.1029/2000WR900073
Volume 36
Issue 7
Year Published 2000
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) Office of Ground Water, Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description 15 p.
First page 1707
Last page 1721
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