Water Distribution and Partitioning in Carbonate Rocks – A Critical Zone Geophysical Perspective

The carbonate critical zone studies use transdisciplinary approaches to solve some of the most pressing challenges society faces (e.g., security, scarcity, and uncertainty of water, and carbon sequestration). My research uses geophysical tools, coupling with hydrogeological and biogeochemical information, via observations and modeling, to understand the pore structure, water flow, and fluid-rock interactions in the critical zone. In this talk, I will describe how I use geophysical tools, mainly geoelectric and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to quantify and predict water storage and fluxes, biogeochemical fluxes, and weathering dynamics in carbonate critical zones. Using a recent study as an example, I will demonstrate how to link laboratory NMR findings with field NMR observations to quantify the key hydrogeological parameters, to update the conceptual model of groundwater flow paths, and to delineate water distribution in unsaturated weathered bedrock in a karst system. In addition, this talk will discuss the potential of hydrogeophysics to transform our understanding and modeling of carbonate critical zone processes.

Speaker Bio

Chi Zhang

Chi Zhang is a hydrogeophysicist studying complex fluid-rock interactions using geoelectrics, nuclear magnetic resonance, and modeling tools. Chi is a tenure-track assistant professor in the Institute of Meteorology and Geophysics at University of Vienna. Before joining the University of Vienna, Chi was an assistant professor in the Department of Geology at The University of Kansas. Chi is interested in understanding the tightly coupled physical, chemical, and biological processes that govern the behavior of geologic media and their constituent fluids (water, brine, CO2, and hydrocarbons) from the micro- to macro- scale. Currently, Chi works on understanding water distribution, weathering, and geochemical fluxes in carbonate rocks. Please check Chi’s cyber existence at chizhanghydrog1 for more research details and other synergetic activities.