A multi-directional tracer test in the fractured Chalk aquifer of E. Yorkshire, UK

J Contam Hydrol. 2007 Dec 7;94(3-4):315-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jconhyd.2007.07.009. Epub 2007 Jul 31.


A multi-borehole radial tracer test has been conducted in the confined Chalk aquifer of E. Yorkshire, UK. Three different tracer dyes were injected into three injection boreholes and a central borehole, 25 m from the injection boreholes, was pumped at 330 m(3)/d for 8 days. The breakthrough curves show that initial breakthrough and peak times were fairly similar for all dyes but that recoveries varied markedly from 9 to 57%. The breakthrough curves show a steep rise to a peak and long tail, typical of dual porosity aquifers. The breakthrough curves were simulated using a 1D dual porosity model. Model input parameters were constrained to acceptable ranges determined from estimations of matrix porosity and diffusion coefficient, fracture spacing, initial breakthrough times and bulk transmissivity of the aquifer. The model gave equivalent hydraulic apertures for fractures in the range 363-384 microm, dispersivities of 1 to 5 m and matrix block sizes of 6 to 9 cm. Modelling suggests that matrix block size is the primary controlling parameter for solute transport in the aquifer, particularly for recovery. The observed breakthrough curves suggest results from single injection-borehole tracer tests in the Chalk may give initial breakthrough and peak times reasonably representative of the aquifer but that recovery is highly variable and sensitive to injection and abstraction borehole location. Consideration of aquifer heterogeneity suggests that high recoveries may be indicative of a high flow pathway adjacent, but not necessarily connected, to the injection and abstraction boreholes whereas low recoveries may indicate more distributed flow through many fractures of similar aperture.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calcium Carbonate
  • England
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Water Movements*
  • Water Supply*


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Calcium Carbonate