Real-case benchmark for flow and tracer transport in the fractured rock

M. Hokr, H. Shao, W. P. Gardner, A. Balvín, H. Kunz, Y. Wang, M. Vencl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The paper is intended to define a benchmark problem related to groundwater flow and natural tracer transport using observations of discharge and isotopic tracers in fractured, crystalline rock. Three numerical simulators: Flow123d, OpenGeoSys, and PFLOTRAN are compared. The data utilized in the project were collected in a water-supply tunnel in granite of the Jizera Mountains, Bedřichov, Czech Republic. The problem configuration combines subdomains of different dimensions, 3D continuum for hard-rock blocks or matrix and 2D features for fractures or fault zones, together with realistic boundary conditions for tunnel-controlled drainage. Steady-state and transient flow and a pulse injection tracer transport problem are solved. The results confirm mostly consistent behavior of the codes. Both the codes Flow123d and OpenGeoSys with 3D–2D coupling implemented differ by several percent in most cases, which is appropriate to, e.g., effects of discrete unknown placing in the mesh. Some of the PFLOTRAN results differ more, which can be explained by effects of the dispersion tensor evaluation scheme and of the numerical diffusion. The phenomenon can get stronger with fracture/matrix coupling and with parameter magnitude contrasts. Although the study was not aimed on inverse solution, the models were fit to the measured data approximately, demonstrating the intended real-case relevance of the benchmark.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1273
JournalEnvironmental Earth Sciences
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Code comparison
  • Multidimensional
  • Natural tracer
  • Numerical model
  • Transit time
  • Tunnel inflow


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