The Use of Pulse Interference Tests for the Determination of Specific Yield in Fractured Rock Settings
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An analytical model is presented for the analysis of pulse interference tests conducted in a fractured porous medium with connection to a free surface boundary at the water table. The solution is applicable to open borehole pulse interference tests due to the accommodation of multiple horizontal fractures intersecting each wellbore and a connection from the uppermost horizontal fracture to a free surface boundary. The solution is derived using the Laplace transform method and evaluation of the solution is performed by numerical inversion using the Talbot algorithm. Based on an informal sensitivity analysis, unique values for transmissivity, storativity, specific storage, vertical hydraulic conductivity and specific yield are predicted over a range of realistic values for these parameters. The analytical model is used to analyze slug tests and pulse interference tests conducted in a fractured gneiss formation. The results of these tests are compared to long-term pumping tests to identify the effect of measurement scale on transmissivity, storativity, vertical hydraulic conductivity and specific yield obtained in a fractured rock setting. Scale artefacts relating to measurement or analysis methods are minimized through the use of consistent well configurations in each of the applied hydraulic testing methods. The geometric mean estimates of transmissivity and storativity are shown to vary by less than an order of magnitude from local-scale tests to long-term pumping tests. The geometric mean specific yield result from a series of pulse interference tests that samples both highly fractured and poorly fractured portions of the rock formation approximates the long-term pumping test estimate of specific yield. The geometric mean result for vertical hydraulic conductivity decreases by approximately 1.5 orders of magnitude from the slug test to pumping test scale; however, pulse interference tests conducted on highly fractured portions of the formation produce vertical hydraulic conductivity estimates that are within a half order of magnitude of the long-term pumping test results. This suggests that the performance of pulse interference tests on a highly fractured portion of a rock formation may be a less time-intensive alternative to large-scale pumping tests in the determination of vertical hydraulic conductivity.