Monday, November 22, 2010

NMR Tried out on Kansas Index Wells

A $200,000.00 piece of logging equipment was tried out here in NW Kansas on the Thomas County index well several weeks ago before being shipped back to the manufacturer and on to Australia.  According to Jim Butler of the Kansas Geological Survey (KGS) the group was able to look at several of the Western Kansas Index wells.  In a prepared statement, KGS wrote:

“This tool is a miniaturized version of the NMR [Nuclear Magnetic Resonance] tools used in the petroleum industry. It is designed to provide data on water-filled porosity and the percent of that water that will readily drain from the pores (specific yield). We are going to use the tool to get a better feel for water storage both in the saturated and unsaturated intervals at the Thomas County site. We can also use the information to get estimates of permeability within the saturated zone. The tool was developed as part of a DoE research project we are participating in with a small NMR company from Seattle, Stanford, and [a Salina-based company]. Although this will be our first application of the tool to the High Plains aquifer, we have been testing it here in the Kansas River alluvium and we are excited about its potential to provide estimates of water in storage and what portion of that is readily available - also, I think information about water storage in the vadose zone could help improve insights into how much water is moving through that zone.”

Early results seem to confirm the original resistivity log on the well, and indicate that the vadose zone (above the water table) is fairly dry, but surprisingly, quite variable as to its capacity to hold water as recharge events eventually translate downward.  This seemed to be stark confirmation of our dry conditions of late.  I had to leave before seeing the results of the logging on the saturated zone, but will see these data soon.  I'm just hoping these zones are really porous AND fully saturated!  

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