Evaluation of the impact of transition from porous to fractured rock media on 3D field-scale DNAPLs contamination

Taehoon Kim, Weon Shik Han, Seonkyoo Yoon, Peter K. Kang, Jehyun Shin, Myung Jin Nam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A 3D high-resolution subsurface characteristic (HSC) numerical model to assess migration and distribution of subsurface DNAPLs was developed. Diverse field data, including lithologic, hydrogeologic, petrophysical, and fracture information from both in situ observations and laboratory experiments were utilized for realistic model representation. For the first time, the model integrates hydrogeologic characteristics of both porous (unconsolidated soil (US) and weathered rock (WR)) and fractured rock (FR) media distinctly affecting DNAPLs migration. This allowed for capturing DNAPLs behavior within US, WR, and FR as well as at the boundary between the media, simultaneously. In the 3D HSC model, hypothetical 100-year DNAPLs contamination was simulated, quantitatively analyzing its spatiotemporal distributions by momentum analyses. Twelve sensitivity scenarios examined the impact of WR and FR characteristics on DNAPLs migration, delineating significant roles of WR. DNAPLs primarily resided in WR due to low permeability and limited penetration into FR through sparse inlet fractures. The permeability anisotropy in WR was most influential to determine the DNAPLs fate, surpassing the impacts of FR characteristics, including rock matrix permeability, fracture aperture size, and fracture + rock mean porosity. This study first attempted to apply the field-data-based multiple geological media concept in the DNAPLs prediction model. Consequently, the field-scale effects of WR and media transitions, which have been often overlooked in evaluating DNAPLs contamination, were underscored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number132711
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
StatePublished - Jan 15 2024

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© 2023 Elsevier B.V.


  • 3D Numerical Modeling
  • Field Scale DNAPLs Contamination
  • Fractured Rock
  • Site Characterization
  • Weathered Rock


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