Gas Flow in a Permeable Earth Formation Containing a Crack

[+] Author and Article Information
J. H. Pitts

Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, University of California, Livermore, Calif.

H. Brandt

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Davis, Calif.

J. Appl. Mech 44(4), 553-558 (Dec 01, 1977) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3424134 History: Received February 01, 1977; Revised June 01, 1977; Online July 12, 2010


Gas flow in a permeable earth formation following an experimental underground nuclear explosion is analyzed to predict conditions that might lead to venting of radioactive gases to the atmosphere. A three-dimensional analysis considers flow of the explosion gas through the permeable earth formation as well as flow of the gas through a propagating crack. Effects of variations in permeability, k, from 10−6 to 1.0 (μm)2 and ratio of the maximum resistive overburden pressure to the initial gas-driving pressure of explosions, Prmax /P1 from 0.1–0.9 are delineated. Initial dimensions of the crack range from 30–110 m in the vertical direction, 30–170 m in the horizontal direction and 10–50 mm in thickness. Propagation of a crack to the earth’s surface following a typical experimental underground nuclear explosion buried at a depth of 500 m would require unusual conditions such as when k < 10−4 (μm)2 and Prmax /P1 < 0.75.

Copyright © 1977 by ASME
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