Infiltration in unsaturated layered fluvial deposits at Rio Bravo

Macroscopic anisotropy and heterogeneous transport

R. J. Glass, J. R. Brainard, Tian-Chyi J Yeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

An infiltration and dye transport experiment was conducted to visualize flow and transport processes in a heterogeneous, layered, sandy-gravelly fluvial deposit adjacent to Rio Bravo Boulevard in Albuquerque, NM. Water containing red dye followed by blue-green dye was ponded in a small horizontal zone (about 0.5 by 0.5 m) above a vertical outcrop (about 4 by 2.5 m). The red dye lagged behind the wetting front due to slight adsorption, thus allowing both the wetting front and dye fronts to be observed in time at the outcrop face. After infiltration, vertical slices were excavated to the midpoint of the infiltrometer, exposing the wetting front and dye distribution in a quasi three-dimensional manner. At small scale, wetting front advancement was influenced by the multitude of local capillary barriers within the deposit. However, at the scale of the experiment, the wetting front appeared smooth with significant lateral spreading, twice that in the vertical, indicating a strong anisotropy due to the pronounced horizontal layering. The dye fronts exhibited appreciably more irregularity than the wetting front, as well as the influence of preferential flow features (a fracture) that moved the dye directly to the front, bypassing the fresh water between. To illustrate the ability of equivalent homogeneous media models to capture the behavior of the wetting front, we performed numerical simulations using equivalent homogeneous media with isotropic, anisotropic, and moisture-dependent anisotropic properties. Those containing anisotropy matched the experimental data best.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-31
Number of pages10
JournalVadose Zone Journal
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2005

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wetting front
fluvial deposit
dyes
infiltration (hydrology)
dye
anisotropy
infiltration
homogeneous medium
outcrop
infiltrometer
infiltrometers
soil transport processes
preferential flow
transport process
adsorption
experiment
moisture
water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science

Cite this

Infiltration in unsaturated layered fluvial deposits at Rio Bravo : Macroscopic anisotropy and heterogeneous transport. / Glass, R. J.; Brainard, J. R.; Yeh, Tian-Chyi J.

In: Vadose Zone Journal, Vol. 4, No. 1, 02.2005, p. 22-31.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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