AnAqSim Example Application Series

AEM – A Stepwise Tool for Analyzing Flow in Fractured Bedrock Aquifers

Analysis of groundwater flow in fractured bedrock aquifers may be performed using a spectrum of modeling approaches that includes (in general order of complexity) analytic solutions; analytic element method (AEM) models; numerical (FD / FE) models with few discrete fractures/faults; and discrete fracture network (DFN) models with many (often stochastically generated) fractures. On that analysis spectrum, AEM models offer a number of advantages including allowing the modeler to:

  • Build on a selected analytic solution
  • Move beyond the analytic solution to create a more useable model framework that incorporates other hydraulic and hydrologic features for site analyses
  • Represent any fracture or fault geometry and orientation without problems of cutting across or excessively refining the grid, because there is no grid!
  • Examine the flow field on scales from inches (near a fracture or fault) to miles (in the far field)
  • Use insight gained to develop a more complex numerical model if required.

AEM models have been used for decades for fractured rock aquifers to design groundwater remediation systems (Earle, 1994), investigate fault-controlled contaminant movement (He and Thalheimer, 2004), and represent one or more discrete conductive fractures in a rock matrix (Marin et al., 2012).

The current study shows techniques for using AEM models to analyze pumping tests in wells fed by a fracture or fault; using fracture elements to explicitly represent the discrete fracture features that cause anisotropy in fractured rock aquifers; and analyzing pathways in natural and pumping-influenced flow fields in fractured and faulted bedrock aquifers.

To learn more and gain a better understanding of how to use AnAqSim to analyze flow in a fractured bedrock aquifer video, watch the presentation recorded by Dr. Charles McLane from the 2019 MODFLOW and More conference titled "AEM - Stepwise Tool for Analyzing Flow in Fractured Bedrock Aquifers".

If you have any questions as you watch the presentation on analyzing flow in fractured bedrock aquifers, don't hesitate to Contact us, or check out our Blog, where you can search available content, or post a comment or question.

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Watch the "MODFLOW and More 2019" Presentation