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Journal Articles Advances in Water Resources Year : 2013

Conditioning of stochastic 3-D fracture networks to hydrological and geophysical data

Caroline Dorn
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Niklas Linde
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Tanguy Le Borgne
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Olivier Bour
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Jean-Raynald de Dreuzy


The geometry and connectivity of fractures exert a strong influence on the flow and transport properties of fracture networks. We present a novel approach to stochastically generate three-dimensional discrete networks of connected fractures that are conditioned to hydrological and geophysical data. A hierarchical rejection sampling algorithm is used to draw realizations from the posterior probability density function at different conditioning levels. The method is applied to a well-studied granitic formation using data acquired within two boreholes located 6 m apart. The prior models include 27 fractures with their geometry (position and orientation) bounded by information derived from single-hole ground-penetrating radar (GPR) data acquired during saline tracer tests and optical televiewer logs. Eleven cross-hole hydraulic connections between fractures in neighboring boreholes and the order in which the tracer arrives at different fractures are used for conditioning. Furthermore, the networks are conditioned to the observed relative hydraulic importance of the different hydraulic connections by numerically simulating the flow response. Among the conditioning data considered, constraints on the relative flow contributions were the most effective in determining the variability among the network realizations. Nevertheless, we find that the posterior model space is strongly determined by the imposed prior bounds. Strong prior bounds were derived from GPR measurements and helped to make the approach computationally feasible. We analyze a set of 230 posterior realizations that reproduce all data given their uncertainties assuming the same uniform transmissivity in all fractures. The posterior models provide valuable statistics on length scales and density of connected fractures, as well as their connectivity. In an additional analysis, effective transmissivity estimates of the posterior realizations indicate a strong influence of the DFN structure, in that it induces large variations of equivalent transmissivities between realizations. The transmissivity estimates agree well with previous estimates at the site based on pumping, flowmeter and temperature data.


Earth Sciences

Dates and versions

insu-00917579 , version 1 (12-12-2013)



Caroline Dorn, Niklas Linde, Tanguy Le Borgne, Olivier Bour, Jean-Raynald de Dreuzy. Conditioning of stochastic 3-D fracture networks to hydrological and geophysical data. Advances in Water Resources, 2013, 62 (Part A), pp.79-89. ⟨10.1016/j.advwatres.2013.10.005⟩. ⟨insu-00917579⟩
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