21 November 2009

Field Guide for Slug Testing and Data Analysis

THE FIELD GUIDE FOR SLUG TESTING AND DATA ANALYSIS was released on 30 January 2009 and is proving to be a tool that is changing how hydrogeologists conduct slug tests.

For about 18 months, Jim Butler (Author of The Design, Performance and Analysis of Slug Tests), Glenn Duffield (Author of AQTESOLV software) and I designed and developed this 4-sided field guide. It seems to connect with - not only the field hydrogeologist, but - the experienced hydrogeologist who appreciates the detailed elements for obtaining reliable slug test results using the right approach, tools and analysis solution.

The field guide was a result of listening to and learning from attendees at MidwestGeo aquifer testing courses (2-day or advanced 3-day versions) and recognizing and successfully overcoming problematic conditions. For example, we each occasionally face extreme conditions that may include fractured, low-K or high-K formations causing uncertainty in preparing for, conducting and analyzing slug tests.

During the aquifer testing course, Jim Butler addresses those extreme conditions and clarifies issues that are often confusing when analyzing the data. Both he and Glenn Duffield provide a step-wise procedure for choosing the appropriate solution to analyze slug test data. It was the interaction with course attendees coupled with our own personal experiences that motivated us to create the field guide. I don't believe there is anything else like it.

The field guide captures those most-common elements discussed in the course and provides guidance for the practitioner who needs to think on his/her feet in the field or at the computer. Despite the depth of the field guide, it does not compare with Jim's 250+ page book.

Jim's book is one of those classically applied books that is a must have for any practicing hydrogeologist. Don't take my word for it. If you know slug testing, you know the Bouwer and Rice solution....so take Herman Bouwer's word instead:

Excellent...a significant milestone in slug test technology and, for that matter, groundwater hydrology.
-Herman Bouwer, USDA Water Conservation Laboratory

(Source: http://www.amazon.com/ 2009 editorial review)

28 June 2009

Glacial Successions - 2009 University of Calgary

In June, we arrived in Calgary to teach the principals of sedimentary deposition, effects of secondary weathering and methods to describe those elements on boring logs and then rationalize a meaningful way to correlate geologic units from boring to boring.

It was a blast.

First, we drove to Calgary (Ken Borrell and me, Dan Kelleher). The drive is about 20 hours from Waverly, Minnesota and it took us two full days. Someone might say wanting to drive across the "boring" plains is crazy....but to a pair of keen geoscientists, the glacial landscape is full of subtle rolls that tell a riveting post-glacial story.

We sampled a pilot boring the day before the course to better understand the regional setting. It was my first sonic boring in Canada (June 16, 2009). The long days enabled us to spend sufficient time with the core and place it on tables in order to read the story the sediments were telling us.

The capacity course began on campus at the University of Calgary. The first day is dedicated to teaching depositional environments, secondary weathering and then moves into the "do's and don'ts" of building the geologic framework, unraveling glacial sedimentary complexities and then applying what we see to designing ground water monitoring systems, selecting geotechnical soil samples that are diagnostic to site stratigraphy and project objectives and having confidence in your site conceptual model.

The attendees arrived at the field site on Day Two by motor coach. Soil core was continuously sampled by sonic methods and then placed from end to end on a table. Placement of the soil core is remarkable when inspecting it in this manner. The sedimentary story is so much easier to read and the geologic history is apparent, even to those without a science background.

We were glad we had a circus-sized canopy tent at 3pm when a drenching storm cloud passed overhead for 10 minutes. Everyone stayed dry and we never lost a minute of teaching.

Although sonic drilling was reportedly developed in Canada and gained popularity in the US through North Star Drilling (Tom Oothoudt) which is now Boart Longyear, sonic is reportedly just gaining momentum in Canada for environmental applications. The drilling company that drilled the boring in Calgary was Crater Lake Drilling from Red Deer, Alberta. The crew did a world-class job of careful sampling and 100-percent core recovery which makes teaching sedimentary sequences much easier, thank you to Gary Whitesell and his crew.

Following the course, Ken and I headed to the Columbia Ice Field located between Banff and Jasper, Alberta. The ice of the apline Athcabasca Glacier is remarkably clean compared to those reportedly dirty continental ice sheets that covered the Upper Midwest. It was an enjoyable trip that was worth every mile. -Dan.

29 April 2009

Nevada Test Site: Phenomenal Course Field Trip

For the past six years, course attendees from the course Improving Hydrogeologic Analysis of Fractured Bedrock Systems access the super-secure Nevada Test Site and then inside the Yucca Mountain Repository Exploration Tunnel.

The tunnel field trip demonstrates how detailed fracture mapping can be used for hydrogeologic projects and illustrates trends between fracture origin and distribution. And frankly, its a historical project site irrespective of its future outcome TBD.

This year, the field trip was moved by US DOE from Yucca Mountain Project area to the eastern portion of the Nevada Test Site where atomic testing occurred in the 1970s and 80's. Driving through the "field" of subsidence craters quickly gives a person new perspective about this era of American history. The photo above captures the some of the 2009 field trip attendees (about half the attendees were on a different bus at a different location) at the remarkable "Apple II House" which was originally painted white and contained windows and a roof before the above ground atomic testing experiment, Apple II, was conducted to assess structural damage to identical buildings at various blast distances. First comment: the site was monitored and verified to be safe. Yes, it was the first question we each asked.

The geologic framework unfolds from stop to stop after a couple of bus stops at two unique and historical visits: one of the two remaining standing Apple II houses (two others were obliterated during the testing) and the infamous Sedan Crater.

03 February 2009

Hydrogeologic Analysis of Bedrock; Jalisco, Mexico 2009

January is a great time to take a geology course in Mexico, especially if you live in an area with low temps and lots of snow. Midwest GeoSciences Group was invited to teach a course in Puerto Vallarta through the Universidad of Mexico, Mexico City. Ken Bradbury and I with our good friend, Dr. Luis Marin from the Universidad of Mexico, conducted a two-day course dedicated to characterizing geologic conditions, understanding ground water movement and the do the don't of ground water modeling in fractured rock. Luis incorporated many of Mexico's unique elements about doing field work, collecting and storing all types of data, and future trends where work may be expected during the next 10 years.

Participants attended from the US and Mexico and everybody stayed a few extra days to enjoy the hotel resort and town. The classroom portion of the course was conducted at the InterContinental Hotel located about 15 km south of downtown Puerto Vallarta. In this area south of town, the rainforest-covered mountains seem to come jetting straight up out of the Pacific Ocean. A few secluded and perfect beaches exist between Puerto Vallarta and Mismaloya, one of which is located at the InterContinental Hotel and Resort. If you are considering a visit to Puerto Vallarta, this is my recommendation (thank you to the IC crew for your generous hospitality). I've stayed at several hotels in Puerto Vallarta over the years, but once I stayed at the InterContinental, that is where I remained. There is no need to rent a car - taxis are plentiful and economical coupled with the safest choice considering the local driving habits.

The 2-day course included a field trip to a gigantic vertical rock exposure, a public drinking water supply wellfield and a new housing development where a fresh rock wall was excavated and rock bolts were being installed to secure the vertical rock face. Dr. Luis Marin told the geology story and Ken Bradbury used the field stops to illustrate the principles taught earlier in the classroom.

Despite the appearance, it was all business.