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Characterizing Rayleigh Taylor Instability and Convection in a Porous Medium with Geoelectric Monitoring
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  • Neelarun Mukherjee,
  • Jayabrata Dhar,
  • Damien Jougnot,
  • Yves Méheust
Neelarun Mukherjee
University of Texas at Austin

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Jayabrata Dhar
Université du Luxembourg
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Damien Jougnot
Sorbonne Universite
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Yves Méheust
Université de Rennes 1
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The use of geophysical tools for subsurface characterization is a common practice in environmental studies and georesources engineering. The electrical conductivity of the subsurface is strongly influenced by the different properties of the subsurface such as pore fluid chemistry, and consequently, by subsurface processes that affect the spatial distribution of that chemistry, such as the mixing dynamics of pore fluids. In the context of freshwater-saline water interaction in coastal areas, changes in solute spatial distribution are coupled to density-driven flow, which can thus be monitored via geoelectrical measurements. Here, we study the Rayleigh Taylor instability and subsequent convection occurring due to the density difference between two miscible liquids when the lighter one is positioned on top of the denser one, a configuration that is relevant for saltwater-freshwater interactions in coastal aquifers. We simulate the convective process and monitor it numerically by computing the transverse apparent conductivity of the medium in time, as the convection develops. We then look for correlations between the geoelectrical signal and a global scalar measure of the convective process' advancement, namely the variance of the solute concentration field.