Matrix and fissure water movement through unsaturated calcareous sandstone

Haim Gvirtzman*, Mordeckai Magaritz, Ya'akov Kanfi, Israel Carmi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Evaluation of pollution endangering groundwater resources beneath fractured sediments may be achieved by estimating the transport rates and recharge amounts of both the matrix and the fissure components. This study examines the transport of water by matrix and fissure flow in the unsaturated zone using environmental tritium as a natural tracer. A 35-year record of tritium concentration along 40 m calcareous sandstone column was reconstructed. It was found that on the average, 40 mm yr1 (8% of the yearly rain) percolated downward through the matrix pores at a velocity of 1.1 m yr1. An additional amount of more than 20 mm yr1 (more 4% of the rains) percolated rapidly through fissure network. These field data fit and support the model proposed by Wang and Narashimham (1985) that the bulk of the water movement under unsaturated conditions occurs through interconnected pores in the matrix.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)343-356
Number of pages14
JournalTransport in Porous Media
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Unsaturated porous media
  • environmental tritium
  • fissure transport


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