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Scaling Effect of the Hydraulic Conductivity in a Confined Aquifer

Fallico, Carmine; Vita, Maria Chiara; De Bartolo, Samuele; Straface, Salvatore

doi: 10.1097/SS.0b013e31824f179c
Technical Article

Previous studies showed that the values of the representative parameters of an aquifer, such as the hydraulic conductivity (k), increase with the scale, that is, with the aquifer volume involved in the measurement. The main cause of this behavior is commonly ascribed to the heterogeneity of the porous media. Heterogeneity influences the scaling behavior differently for laboratory or field measurement, but the scale dependence of hydraulic conductivity is not dependent on the specific measurement method. In the present study, the scaling law of this parameter was determined on a real confined aquifer, using measurements obtained, both in the laboratory (flow cells) and the field (slug tests and aquifer tests). The corresponding data were statistically analyzed. A scaling law was proposed for both the laboratory and field scale, using the data obtained from flow cells, slug tests, and aquifer tests. Afterward, the scaling law was estimated at just the field scale, first using the slug tests and aquifer tests and then using only the aquifer test data.

The scale dependence of the storativity was also investigated for all field measurements and then using only the aquifer test data. In conclusion, for both hydraulic conductivity and storativity, the trend to reach an upper bound increasing the scale parameter was investigated in the scale ranges of 67 and 99 m, respectively, examining only the data set relative to aquifer test measurements.

Dipartimento di Difesa del Suolo “V. Marone,” Università della Calabria, Italy.

Address for correspondence: Eng. Carmine Fallico, Dipartimento di Difesa del Suolo “V. Marone,” Università della Calabria, 87036 Rende (CS), Italy. E-mail:

Received January 27, 2012.

Accepted for publication February 1, 2012.

Financial Disclosures/Conflicts of Interest: None reported.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.