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INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research

COLOSSAL: Collaboration on “Flow across Scales” (Brazil, France, Norway, USA)

Alternative title: COLOSSAL: Samarbeid om “Flow over Scales” (Brasil, Frankrike, Norge, USA)

Awarded: NOK 4.5 mill.

Water circulates in the subsurface, from the scale of pores in rocks and soils to the scale of reservoirs and geological basins. Water can be mixed with pollutants or with other fluids, such as CO2. How these fluids move remains an open question. Through research and teaching collaborations with universities in Brazil, France, and the USA, we have access to unique data sets of fluid flow in the subsurface, that students and researchers use to test new statistical and numerical models of flow of liquids in the subsurface. In the project, we train a cohort of MSc and PhD students in this domain. We also train them during geological field trips, international conferences and scientific article workshops. The research and education has relevant societal implications in the domains of geohazards (earthquakes, landslides, glacier collapse), groundwater resource (production and protection of aquifers, transport of contaminants in the ground), and georesources (geothermal energy, CO2 sequestration, solution mining).

The Earth’s crust is physically and chemically heterogeneous on essentially all scales from the microscopic scale of the roughness and defects on mineral surfaces to the continental scale. Different modeling approaches are required on different time and length scales, and the seamless integration of these approaches is extremely challenging because processes may be strongly coupled in the subsurface. For example single- and multi-phase fluid dynamics are coupled to geomechanical and geochemical processes during earthquakes, groundwater flows, or glacier collapse. New data processing techniques and theoretical ideas are needed to address this challenge. For example, a recently developed statistical framework proposed by the partners in Brazil, based on maximum entropy production, has the potential to shed light on this issue. Through research and teaching collaborations with universities in Brazil, France, and the USA, we will have access to unique time series of flow in fractured rocks and earthquake catalogs that students and researchers will use to test new statistical and numerical models. Through collaborations with geophysicists and physicists, we will study the couplings between fluid flow, deformation and fracturing that cover all the time and length scales of natural geological processes and we will train a cohort of MSc and PhD students in this domain. We will also train them during geological field trips, international conferences and scientific article workshops. To the best of our knowledge, due to the novelty of the theme, no group in Norway is actively working on these topics. The research and education has relevant societal implications in the domains of geohazards (earthquakes, landslides, glacier collapse), groundwater resource (production and protection of aquifers, transport of contaminants in the ground), and georesources (geothermal energy, CO2 sequestration, solution mining).

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INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research