Solute transport in fractured media – analysis of non-reversibility in tracer tests
Abstract. This paper describes several small-scale (laboratory) experiments designed to simulate solute transport through fractured formations. A block of granite was broken to produce a fracture similar to those found in natural environments. Seven holes were drilled in the block to intersect the fracture. Later these holes functioned as either inlet or outlet points. All the possible combinations of pairs of inlet-outlet points were used to set up the tracer tests that provided the data analysed in this paper.
The results indicate that reverse tracer tests do not necessarily provide symmetric results. Under some circumstances, the non-reversibility might be used to detect differences in the morphology of the fracture. The results also indicate that it is possible to estimate reasonably well the volume available for the circulation of the fluid by using transport models that neglect diffusion.