Geostatistical Methods for Lithological Aquifer Characterization and Groundwater Flow Modeling of the Catania Plain Quaternary Aquifer (Italy)


Sedimentary heterogeneity conditions of Catania Plain quaternary aquifer (CPQA), the wider alluvial multi-aquifer system of Sicily, were rebuilt to simulate and quantify groundwater flow. Transition probabilities based on a Markov Chain (MC) and Sequential Indicator Simulation (SIS) are the structure-imitating simulators utilized for generating stochastic distributions of hydraulic conductivity fields of CPQA, basing on borehole data: plausible equiprobable solutions of the complex geological structure of the CPQA were simulated. This study highlights that the choice of geostatistical simulation method plays a fundamental role in predictive scenarios for groundwater resources managing of CPQA. Indeed, simulated characteristics of the sedimentary heterogeneity constituted the basis of finite difference models for simulating the groundwater flow of CPQA. In heterogeneous systems such as CPQA, SIS may be inadequate for reproducing the macrostructures. Instead, MC adequately reproduced spatial connection of lithofacies, representing a more realistic solution dealing to the proposed geological model of CPQA. MC and SIS models were utilized to both assess the uncertainty of the generated hydraulic conductivity fields of CPQA and predictions about its behavior under normal stress conditions induced by urbanization. The calibration of CPQA groundwater flow models based on MC and SIS simulations allowed to achieve a realistic feedback about the quality of the geostatistical reconstructions of the geological heterogeneity field.

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Guastaldi, E. , Carloni, A. , Pappalardo, G. and Nevini, J. (2014) Geostatistical Methods for Lithological Aquifer Characterization and Groundwater Flow Modeling of the Catania Plain Quaternary Aquifer (Italy). Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 6, 272-296. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2014.64032.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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