Journal Highlight: NMR logging to estimate hydraulic conductivity in unconsolidated aquifers

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  • Published: Feb 1, 2016
  • Author: spectroscopyNOW
  • Channels: NMR Knowledge Base
thumbnail image: Journal Highlight: NMR logging to estimate hydraulic conductivity in unconsolidated aquifers
The application of NMR logging in unconsolidated aquifers suggests that a new set of constants can be defined to give high-resolution, cost-effective estimates of the estimate hydraulic conductivity.

NMR logging to estimate hydraulic conductivity in unconsolidated aquifers

Groundwater, 2016, 54, 104-114
Rosemary Knight, David O. Walsh, James J. Butler Jr., Elliot Grunewald, Gaisheng Liu, Andrew D. Parsekian, Edward C. Reboulet, Steve Knobbe and Mercer Barrows

Abstract: Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) logging provides a new means of estimating the hydraulic conductivity (K) of unconsolidated aquifers. The estimation of K from the measured NMR parameters can be performed using the Schlumberger-Doll Research (SDR) equation, which is based on the Kozeny–Carman equation and initially developed for obtaining permeability from NMR logging in petroleum reservoirs. The SDR equation includes empirically determined constants. Decades of research for petroleum applications have resulted in standard values for these constants that can provide accurate estimates of permeability in consolidated formations. The question we asked: Can standard values for the constants be defined for hydrogeologic applications that would yield accurate estimates of K in unconsolidated aquifers? Working at 10 locations at three field sites in Kansas and Washington, USA, we acquired NMR and K data using direct-push methods over a 10- to 20-m depth interval in the shallow subsurface. Analysis of pairs of NMR and K data revealed that we could dramatically improve K estimates by replacing the standard petroleum constants with new constants, optimal for estimating K in the unconsolidated materials at the field sites. Most significant was the finding that there was little change in the SDR constants between sites. This suggests that we can define a new set of constants that can be used to obtain high resolution, cost-effective estimates of K from NMR logging in unconsolidated aquifers. This significant result has the potential to change dramatically the approach to determining K for hydrogeologic applications.

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