Impact of heterogeneity on oxygen transfer in a fluctuating capillary fringe

Ground Water
Christina M HabererPeter Grathwohl

Abstract

We performed quasi-two-dimensional flow through laboratory experiments to study the effect of a coarse-material inclusion, located in the proximity of the water table, on flow and oxygen transfer in the capillary fringe. The experiments investigate different phases of mass transfer from the unsaturated zone to anoxic groundwater under both steady-state and transient flow conditions, the latter obtained by fluctuating the water table. Monitoring of flow and transport in the different experimental phases was performed by visual inspection of the complex flow field using a dye tracer solution, measurement of oxygen profiles across the capillary fringe, and determination of oxygen fluxes in the effluent of the flow-through chamber. Our results show significant effects of the coarse-material inclusion on oxygen transfer during the different phases of the experiments. At steady state, the oxygen flux across the unsaturated/saturated interface was considerably enhanced due to flow focusing in the fully water-saturated coarse-material inclusion. During drainage, a zone of higher water saturation formed in the fine material overlying the coarse lens. The entrapped oxygen-rich aqueous phase contributed to the total amount of oxygen suppl...Continue Reading

References

Jun 20, 2001·Journal of Contaminant Hydrology·Olaf A Cirpka, Peter K Kitanidis
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Sep 19, 2002·Journal of Contaminant Hydrology·I D Klenk, Peter Grathwohl
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Nov 10, 2009·Journal of Contaminant Hydrology·Massimo RollePeter Grathwohl
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Related Concepts

Blood Capillaries
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