US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in GROUND WATER-Vol. 26, No.5-September-October 1988


i\ field technique for assessing the vertical distribution of hydraulic conductivity in an aquifer was applied to a fractured carbonate formation in southeastern Nevada. The technique combines the simultaneous usc of fluid injection and geophysical logging to measure in situ vertical distributions of fluid velocity and hydraulic head down the borehole; these data subsequently are analyzed to arrive at quantitative estimates of hydraulic conductivity across discrete intervals in the aquifer. The diagnostic capabilities of the analysis were found to be constraincd by the accuracy and resolution of the logging tools as well as by the hydraulic characteristics of the formation. Despite thesc limitations, this injection/logging technique appears to be practical and effective under the conditions encountered in this application. The results of this analysis identified the contact margin between the Anchor and Dawn Members of the Monte Cristo Limestone as being the dominant transmissive unit. This section is extensively fractured, and quantitative estimates of its hydraulic conductivity are at least two orders of magnitude larger than that of the surrounding competent roek matrix. This transmissive zone also correlates strongly with an interval where the drilling rate was reported to be quite rapid. Aquifer transmissivity was computed from the profile of hydraulic conductivity and found to be 7.6 X 105 ft 2 /day, a value that is in close agreement with that determined from a conventional constant-discharge test. Discrepancies between the two estimates may be scale-dependent, a function of the different formation volumes investigated by each method. The friction factor, a parameter derived from the differential pressure and velocity logs, appears to be a good indicator of borehole rugosity across intervals where fluid velocity remains virtually unchanged, and vertical flow is turbulent.