High-resolution saturated hydraulic conductivity logging of borehole cores using air permeability measurements

Bart Rogiers, Pieter Winters, Marijke Huysmans, Koen Beerten, Dirk Mallants, Matej Gedeon, Okke Batelaan, Alain Dassargues

    Research outputpeer-review


    Saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ks) is one of the most important parameters determining groundwater flow and contaminant transport in both unsaturated and saturated porous media. The hand-held air permeameter technique was investigated for high-resolution hydraulic conductivity determination on borehole cores using a spatial resolution of ∼0.05 m. The suitability of such air permeameter measurements on friable to poorly indurated sediments was tested to improve the spatial prediction of classical laboratory-based Ks measurements obtained at a much lower spatial resolution (∼2 m). In total, 368 Ks measurements were made on ∼350 m of borehole cores originating from the Campine basin, northern Belgium, while ∼5,230 air permeability measurements were performed on the same cores, resulting in a Ks range of seven orders of magnitude. Cross-validation demonstrated that, using air permeameter data as the secondary variable for laboratory based Ks measurements, the performance increased from R² = 0.35 for ordinary kriging (laboratory Ks only) to R² = 0.61 for co-kriging. The separate treatment of horizontal and vertical hydraulic conductivity revealed considerable anisotropy in certain lithostratigraphical units, while others were clearly isotropic at the sample scale. Air permeameter measurements on borehole cores provide a cost-effective way to improve spatial predictions of traditional laboratory based Ks.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1345-1358
    JournalHydrogeology Journal
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - Sep 2014

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