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Gravity currents over fractured substrates in a porous medium

Pritchard, David (2007) Gravity currents over fractured substrates in a porous medium. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 584. pp. 415-431. ISSN 0022-1120

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We consider the behaviour of a gravity current in a porous medium when the horizontal surface along which it spreads is punctuated either by narrow fractures or by permeable regions of limited extent. We derive steady-state solutions for the current, and show that these form part of a long-time asymptotic description which may also include a self-similar ‘leakage current’ propagating beyond the fractured region with a length proportional to t1/2. We discuss the conditions under which a current can be completely trapped by a permeable region or a series of fractures.