Relationship between sedimentary features and permeability at different scales in the Brussels Sands
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The Brussels Sands display a complex three-dimensional subsurface architecture. This sedimentological heterogeneity induces a highly heterogeneous spatial distribution of hydrogeological parameters at different scales and may consequently influence subsurface fluid flow and solute migration. This study aims at characterizing spatial variability of permeability at different scales in the Brussels Sands. Firstly, a literature review on the permeability distribution of the Brussels Sands was performed. Secondly, a field campaign was carried out consisting of field observations of the small-scale sedimentary structures and in situ measurements of air permeability. A total of 6550 cm-scale air permeability measurements were carried out in situ in three Brussels Sands quarries in the central part of Belgium: Bierbeek, Mont‑Saint‑Guibert and Chaumont‑Gistoux. On the large basin scale, substantial differences in permeability are observed. A literature data analysis shows that there is no clear correlation between hydraulic conductivity and sedimentary facies. At the small scale, results show that permeability heterogeneity and anisotropy are strongly influenced by sedimentary heterogeneity in all three quarries. Clay-rich sedimentary features such as bottomsets and distinct mud drapes exhibit a different statistical and geostatistical permeability distribution compared to the cross-bedded lithofacies, where the permeability anisotropy is dominated by the foreset lamination orientation.