Articles | Volume 25, issue 10
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 25, 5337–5353, 2021
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-25-5337-2021
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 25, 5337–5353, 2021
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-25-5337-2021
Research article
05 Oct 2021
Research article | 05 Oct 2021

Preferential pathways for fluid and solutes in heterogeneous groundwater systems: self-organization, entropy, work

Erwin Zehe et al.

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Short summary
This study uses the concepts of entropy and work to quantify and explain the emergence of preferential flow and transport in heterogeneous saturated porous media. We found that the downstream concentration of solutes in preferential pathways implies a downstream declining entropy in the transverse distribution of solute transport pathways. Preferential flow patterns with lower entropies emerged within media of higher heterogeneity – a stronger self-organization despite a higher randomness.