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Importance de l’hétérogénéité structurale de la zone non saturée pour la modélisation de l’écoulement à méso-échelle

Abstract : Understanding preferential flows in the vadose zone is a prerequisite for a proper management of infiltration basins. The studied infiltration basin lies on a strongly heterogeneous glaciofluvial deposit made of a predominant lithofacies that embeds lenses of sand and gravel. Geophysics (GPR) were used to characterize the lithological heterogeneity along radar-grammes (sections few meters deep and dozens of meters long). Flow was modelled for all these sections and compared to a synthetic section filled only with the predominant lithofacies (control). Numerical results show that, under unsaturated conditions, the lithological heterogeneity has a strong impact on flow with the establishment of preferential flows induced by capillary-barrier effects in the vicinity of lenses of sand and gravel. These effects have also consequences on water fluxes at surface (infiltration and runoff) and depend strongly on the section considered for numerical modelling. It can thus be concluded that the spatial variability of lithological heterogeneity induces a spatial variability of preferential flow. Geometrical and architectural parameters were defined to quantity lithological heterogeneity and link it to preferential flows, with the aim to propose a first step towards modelling flow in the basin at the meso-scale.
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Artur Paiva Coutinho. Importance de l’hétérogénéité structurale de la zone non saturée pour la modélisation de l’écoulement à méso-échelle. Hydrologie. Université de Lyon; Universidade federal de Pernambuco (Récife, Brésil), 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016LYSET012⟩. ⟨tel-01832062⟩

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