Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Geoelectric monitoring of seepage in porous media with engineering applications to earthen dams
by Ikard, Scott, Ph.D., Colorado School of Mines, 2013, 272; 3602502
Abstract (Summary)

A monitoring methodology is developed for investigating seepage and internal erosion in earthen dams with time-lapse measurements of self-potential anomalies associated with conservative salt and non-conservative heat tracer migration in the subsurface. The method allows for 1) detecting seepage zones in earthen dams and determining the preferential flow paths through seepage zones in a non-invasive manner from the ground surface, 2) monitoring the transient evolution of seepage path geometry, flow velocity, and permeability in real-time if high frequency measurements can be made, and 3) long-term non-invasive monitoring with wired or wireless sensors The method is first theoretically developed and tested in a laboratory using a conservative tracer, and then demonstrated at a 12 m high, 100 m long leaking earthen dam with complex, unknown seepage paths. The method is shown to be capable of rapidly detecting seepage zones discovered during a reconnaissance survey, and delineates the predominant seepage directions through the dam from the time-lapse self-potential anomalies. The time-lapse monitoring approach ensures improved spatial resolution, increased measurement frequencies, and improved data analysis capabilities relative to traditional approaches to seepage detection, and a cost-reduction for the application of this methodology is anticipated to follow advancements in wireless sensing and monitoring technologies. This method is designed to be a more cost-effective means of interrogating earthen dams and levees to answer questions such as: Is the dam safe? What are the geometries of the seepage zones inside of the dam, and over what spatial scale does anomalous seepage occur? What are preferential paths through the seepage zones? Is internal erosion actively occurring? At what rates are the geometries, permeabilities and flow rates of preferential seepage paths evolving?

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Revil, Andre
Commitee: Delborne, Jason, Hale, Dave, Minsley, Burke, Mooney, Mike, Oden, Chuck
School: Colorado School of Mines
Department: Geophysics
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-B 75/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Hydrologic sciences, Geological, Geophysical
Keywords: Earthen dams, Groundwater modeling, Imaging, Self-potential, Temperature, Time-lapse monitoring
Publication Number: 3602502
ISBN: 978-1-303-55309-7
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