California Oil, Gas, and Groundwater Program

Publication: Reports and Papers


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Stephens, M. J., Shimabukuro, D. H., Gillespie, J. M. and Chang, W.





A method is presented for deriving a volume model of groundwater total dissolved solids (TDS) from borehole geophysical and aqueous geochemical measurements. While previous TDS mapping techniques have proved useful in the hydrogeologic setting in which they were developed, they may yield poor results in settings with lithological heterogeneity, complex water chemistry, or limited data. Problems arise because of assumed values for empirical constants in Archies Equation, unrealistic porosity and temperature gradients, or bicarbonate-rich groundwater. These issues become critical in complex geologic settings such as the San Joaquin Valley of California, USA. To address this, a method to map TDS in three dimensions is applied to the Fruitvale and Rosedale Ranch oil fields near Bakersfield, California. Borehole resistivity, porosity, and temperature data are used to derive TDS using Archies Equation, and are then kriged to interpolate TDS. Archies a and m (tortuosity factor and cementation exponent, respectively) are found by comparing model predictions, after kriging, to TDS measurements, and minimizing the differences via mathematical optimization. Contributions of abundant bicarbonate ions to TDS were corrected using an empirical model. This work was motivated by federal and state law requirements to monitor and protect underground sources of drinking water. Modeling shows the legally significant boundary of 10,000 ppm TDS is at ~1,067 m below sea level in Rosedale Ranch, and deepens into Fruitvale to ~1,341 m. Mapping groundwater TDS at this resolution reveals that TDS is primarily controlled by depth, recharge, stratigraphy, and in some places, by faulting and facies changes.