Surface and borehole geophysical methods were used to determine fracture orientation in crystalline bedrock at the Eastern Surplus Superfund Site in Meddybemps, Maine. Fracture-orientation information is needed to address concerns about the fate of contaminants in ground water at the site. Azimuthal square-array resistivity surveys were conducted at 3 locations at the site, borehole-acoustic televiewer and borehole-video logs were collected in 10 wells, and single-hole directional radar surveys were conducted in 9 wells. Borehole-video logs were used to supplement the results of other geophysical techniques and are not described in this report.
Analysis of azimuthal square-array resistivity data indicated that high-angle fracturing generally strikes northeast-southwest at the three locations. Borehole-acoustic televiewer logs detected one prominent low-angle and two prominent high-angle fracture sets. The low-angle fractures strike generally north-northeast and dip about 20 degrees west-northwest. One high-angle fracture set strikes north-northeast and dips east-southeast; the other high-angle set strikes east-northeast and dips south-southeast. Single-hole directional radar surveys identified two prominent fracture sets: a low-angle set striking north-northeast, dipping west-northwest; and a high-angle fracture set striking north-northeast, dipping east-southeast. Two additional high-angle fracture sets are defined weakly, one striking east-west, dipping north; and a second striking east-west, dipping south.
Integrated results from all of the geophysical surveys indicate the presence of three primary fracture sets. A low-angle set strikes north-northeast and dips west-northwest. Two high-angle sets strike north-northeast and east-northeast and dip east-southeast and south-southeast. Statistical correction of the fracture data for orientation bias indicates that high-angle fractures are more numerous than observed in the data but are still less numerous than the low-angle fractures.
The orientation and distribution of water-yielding fractures sets were determined by correlating the fracture data from this study with previously collected borehole-flowmeter data. The water-yielding fractures are generally within the three prominent fracture sets observed for the total fracture population. The low-angle water-yielding fractures primarily strike north-northeast to west-northwest and dip west-northwest to south-southwest. Most of the high-angle water-yielding fractures strike either north-northeast or east-west and dip east-southeast or south. The spacing between water-yielding fractures varies but the probable average spacing is estimated to be 30 feet for low-angle fractures; 27 feet for the east-southeast dipping, high-angle fractures; and 43 feet for the south-southeast dipping, high-angle fractures.
The median estimated apparent transmissivity of individual water-yielding fractures or fracture zones was 0.3 feet squared per day and ranged from 0.01 to 382 feet squared per day. Ninety-five percent of the water-yielding fractures or fracture zones had an estimated apparent transmissivity of 19.5 feet squared per day or less.
The orientation, spacing, and hydraulic properties of water-yielding fractures identified during this study can be used to help estimate recharge, flow, and discharge of ground water contaminants. High-angle fractures provide vertical pathways for ground water to enter the bedrock, interconnections between low-angle fractures, and, subsequently, pathways for water flow within the bedrock along fracture planes. Low-angle fractures may allow horizontal ground-water flow in all directions. The orientation of fracturing and the hydraulic properties of each fracture set strongly affect changes in ground-water flow under stress (pumping) conditions.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Characteristics of fractures in crystalline bedrock determined by surface and borehole geophysical surveys, eastern surplus superfund site, Meddybemps, Maine
Water-Resources Investigations Report
U.S. Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ;
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