Models for Characterization of Fractured Rock from Thermography Experiments

Fractured rocks play central role in a wide variety of environmental fields including hydrogeology, geothermal energy, hydrocarbon extraction, and long-term storage of toxic waste. In these and other applications, the presence of fractures has dramatic consequences because they form highly permeable structures that can both help to extract the resource and lead to a faster and further migration of subsurface pollutants. We will evaluate how newly developed subsurface temperature experiments can improve our ability to identify major fractures and estimate their properties. This requires a combination of environmental, mathematical, physical, and computer science expertise with a special focus on the optimization of numerical models and the development of inversion strategies that are well suited for heat transport processes in fractured rocks. To this end, we will strengthen the existing interdisciplinary collaboration between Geosciences Department at University of Montpellier and Department Energy Resources Engineering at Stanford University. We plan mutual visits of the coordinators, collaborators, and graduate students. This is a great opportunity to tackle current environmental and societal challenges and to facilitate the training of the graduate students involved in the project.


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