Natural rock fracture networks exhibit complex, multiscaling relationships for fracture length, transmissivity, orientation, density and network connectivity. Of these properties, network connectivity has remained more of an abstractive construct than an easily definable parameter. The degree of network connectivity in fractured rocks profoundly impacts movement and retention of solutes. We propose a new approach for understanding network connectivity based on the migration of particles towards a pumping well located in the center of complex, three-dimensional discrete fracture networks (DFNs). The dfnWorks computational suite is utilized to generate and solve for fluid flow and conservative particle transport through multiple, statistically-equivalent DFNs. The simulated data are then used to study network connectivity as a function of particle location and arrival times to the pumping well.
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