Sediments are believed to comprise as much as 50 percent of the Snake River Plain aquifer thickness in some locations within the Idaho National Laboratory. However, the hydraulic properties of these deep sediments have not been well characterized and they are not represented explicitly in the current conceptual model of subregional scale ground-water flow. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the nature of the sedimentary material within the aquifer and to test the applicability of a site-specific property-transfer model developed for the sedimentary interbeds of the unsaturated zone. Saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat) was measured for 10 core samples from sedimentary interbeds within the Snake River Plain aquifer and also estimated using the property-transfer model. The property-transfer model for predicting Ksat was previously developed using a multiple linear-regression technique with bulk physical-property measurements (bulk density [pbulk], the median particle diameter, and the uniformity coefficient) as the explanatory variables. The model systematically underestimates Ksat,typically by about a factor of 10, which likely is due to higher bulk-density values for the aquifer samples compared to the samples from the unsaturated zone upon which the model was developed. Linear relations between the logarithm of Ksat and pbulk also were explored for comparison.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Laboratory-Measured and Property-Transfer Modeled Saturated Hydraulic Conductivity of Snake River Plain Aquifer Sediments at the Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho