Published in Water Resources Research, Volume 50, Issue 4, April 2, 2014, pages 2921-2945.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Bwalya Malama was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1002/2013WR014909.
A semianalytical solution is presented for transient streaming potentials associated with flow to a pumping well in an unconfined aquifer, taking into account the effect of flow in the unsaturated zone above the water table. Flow in the unsaturated zone is modeled with a linearized form of Richards' equation using an exponential model for soil moisture retention and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity. Archie's law is invoked for unsaturated electrical conductivity. The unsaturated electrokinetic coupling coefficient is modeled with a decaying exponential, where the maximum value is at and below the water table. The coupled flow and electrokinetic problem is solved using Laplace and Hankel transforms. The results of the model predicted behavior are presented and compared to that observed in laboratory simulations of pumping tests. The early time polarity reversal predicted the model is observable in the experiments. Other nonmonotonic streaming potential behaviors predicted by the model are also evident in experimental measurements. The model is used to estimate hydraulic parameters from SP data and these compare well to those obtained from drawdown data. For example, a hydraulic conductivity of 3.6 × 10−4 m/s is obtained from SP data compared to 3.4 × 10−4 m/s from drawdown data.
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