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Sophisticated Technology Offers Efficient Tracking of Ground Contamination

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.