Mathematical Geology

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 239–265 | Cite as

Three-Dimensional Numerical Method of Moments for Linear Equilibrium-Adsorbing Solute Transport in Physically and Chemically Nonstationary Formations

  • Jichun Wu
  • Bill X. Hu


A Lagrangian perturbation method is applied to develop a method of moments for reactive solute flux through a three-dimensional, nonstationary flow field. The flow nonstationarity may stem from medium nonstationarity, finite domain boundaries, and/or fluid pumping and injecting. The reactive solute flux is described as a space–time process where time refers to the solute flux breakthrough in a control plane at some distance downstream of the solute source and space refers to the transverse displacement distribution at the control plane. The analytically derived moments equations for solute transport in a nonstationary flow field are too complicated to solve analytically; therefore, a numerical finite difference method is implemented to obtain the solutions. This approach combines the stochastic model with the flexibility of the numerical method to boundary and initial conditions. The approach provides a tool to apply stochastic theory to reactive solute transport in complex subsurface environments. Several case studies have been conducted to investigate the influence of the physical and chemical heterogeneity of a medium on the reactive solute flux prediction in nonstationary flow field. It is found that both physical and chemical heterogeneity significantly affect solute transport behavior in a nonstationary flow field. The developed method is also applied to an environmental project for predicting solute flux in the saturated zone below the Yucca Mountain Project area, demonstrating the applicability of the method in practical environmental projects.

groundwater stochastic methods subsurface heterogeneity nonstationarity method of moments 


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Copyright information

© International Association for Mathematical Geology 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jichun Wu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bill X. Hu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Desert Research Institute, Division of Hydrologic SciencesUniversity and Community College System of NevadaLas Vegas
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesNanjing UniversityNanjingPeople's Republic of China
  3. 3.Hydrologic Sciences ProgramUniversity of NevadaReno

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