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Combining process-based and surface-based models to simulate subsurface heterogeneity in volcanic aquifers

Koneshloo, Mohammad, Kreyns, Pieter, Michael, Holly A.
Stochastic environmental research and risk assessment 2018 v.32 no.9 pp. 2565-2583
aquifers, geometry, lava, models, prediction
Realistic models of lithologic structure are critical for predicting flow and transport through heterogeneous volcanic aquifers. Existing models of lava flows based on physical processes are able to realistically simulate flow geometry and lithology, but the computational intensity limits applicability in generating entire aquifers. Fast surface-based models have been developed for hazard mapping, but these do not incorporate 3D geometry or lithology critical for hydrogeologic applications. Here we develop a hybrid modeling method (HMM) based on a combination of a process-based model (PBM) and a surface-based model. The methodologies are presented and compared to a known single flow and to each other in a full aquifer simulation. Results indicate that both the PBM and HMM simulations reasonably reproduce the flow geometry (length, branching, thickness) of the 1984 eruption of Mauna Loa in Hawai’i. Simulations of a volcanic aquifer built from 100 flows with the PBM and HMM are similar in spatial distribution and overall proportions of lithology (aa, transitional, pahoehoe, ash), flow geometry, and aquifer geometry. Thus, the hybrid method is an efficient method to generate geologically realistic models of volcanic aquifer structure. Model realism and parameterization can be improved as more field data become available.