A numerical representation that explicitly represents the generalized three-dimensional anisotropy of folded fractured-sedimentary rocks in a groundwater model best reproduces the salient features of the flow system in the Shenandoah Valley, USA. This conclusion results from a comparison of four alternative representations of anisotropy in which the hydraulic-conductivity tensor represents the bedrock structure as (model A) anisotropic with variable strikes and dips, (model B) horizontally anisotropic with a uniform strike, (model C) horizontally anisotropic with variable strikes, and (model D) isotropic. Simulations using the US Geological Survey groundwater flow and transport model SUTRA are based on a representation of hydraulic conductivity that conforms to bedding planes in a three-dimensional structural model of the valley that duplicates the pattern of folded sedimentary rocks. In the most general representation, (model A), the directions of maximum and medium hydraulic conductivity conform to the strike and dip of bedding, respectively, while the minimum hydraulic-conductivity direction is perpendicular to bedding. Model A produced a physically realistic flow system that reflects the underlying bedrock structure, with a flow field that is significantly different from those produced by the other three models. ?? Springer-Verlag 2009.
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Comparison of alternative representations of hydraulic-conductivity anisotropy in folded fractured-sedimentary rock: Modeling groundwater flow in the Shenandoah Valley (USA)