Narrator: This is Science Today. A computer-driven technique called reactive transport modeling, which has traditionally been used as an engineering tool, is now being applied to Earth Sciences research. Carl Steefel, a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, says combined with high-resolution images of mineral surfaces and sophisticated computer clusters, the technology can create three-dimensional models that simulate reality.
Steefel: If you've got contamination in
the ground, you often want to know two things; you want to know how fast is
that contaminant going to move and is that going to be a threat to drinking
water supplies? So you need these models to describe that accurately.
Narrator: Steefel adds that another important use is in remediation.
Steefel: If you want to clean up the contamination, you may come up with various schemes to try to flush the system - but it turns out that the computer models are a much more efficient way to do the preliminary design of these kind of field tests then simply going out into the field and start pumping fluids into the subsurface.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.