Submitted as: development and technical paper 09 Apr 2021

Submitted as: development and technical paper | 09 Apr 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

RHEA v1.0: Enabling fully coupled simulations with hydro-geomechanical heterogeneity

José M. Bastías Espejo1, Andy Wilkins2, Gabriel Rau1,3, and Philipp Blum1 José M. Bastías Espejo et al.
  • 1Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Institute of Applied Geosciences, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 2Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Mining Geomechanics Team, Brisbane, Australia
  • 3The University of New South Wales, Connected Waters Initiative Research Centre, Sydney, Australia

Abstract. Realistic modelling of tightly coupled hydro-geomechanical processes is relevant for the assessment of many hydrological and geotechnical applications. Such processes occur in geologic formations and are influenced by natural heterogeneity. Current numerical libraries offer capabilities and physics couplings that have proven to be valuable in many geotechnical fields like gas storage, rock fracturing and Earth resources extraction. However, implementation and verification of full heterogeneity of subsurface properties using high resolution field data in coupled simulations has not been done before. We develop, verify and document RHEA (Real HEterogeneity App), an open-source, fully coupled, finite-element application capable of including element-resolution hydro-geomechanical properties in coupled simulations. We propose a simple, yet powerful workflow to allow the incorporation of fully distributed hydro-geomechanical properties. We then verify the code with analytical solutions in one and two dimensions, and propose a benchmark semi-analytical problem to verify heterogeneous systems with sharp gradients. Finally, we demonstrate RHEA's capabilities with a comprehensive example including realistic properties. With this we demonstrate that RHEA is a verified open-source application able to include complex geology to perform scalable, fully coupled, hydro-geomechanical simulations. Our work is a valuable tool to assess challenging real world hydro-geomechanical systems that may include different levels of complexity like heterogeneous geology with several time and spatial scales and sharp gradients produced by contrasting subsurface properties.

José M. Bastías Espejo et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on gmd-2021-45', Anonymous Referee #1, 19 Apr 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC1', Jose Bastias, 19 May 2021
  • CEC1: 'Comment on gmd-2021-45', Juan Antonio Añel, 17 May 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on CEC1', Jose Bastias, 19 May 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on gmd-2021-45', Mauro Cacace, 21 Jun 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC2', Jose Bastias, 29 Jul 2021
  • RC3: 'Comment on gmd-2021-45', Anonymous Referee #3, 27 Jul 2021
    • AC4: 'Reply on RC3', Jose Bastias, 10 Aug 2021

José M. Bastías Espejo et al.

José M. Bastías Espejo et al.


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Short summary
The hydraulic and mechanical properties of the subsurface is inherently heterogeneous. RHEA is a simulator that can perform couple hydro-geomechanical processes in heterogeneous porous media with steep gradients. It is able to fully integrate spatial heterogeneity allowing allocation of distributed hydraulic and geomechanical properties at mesh element level. RHEA is a valuable tool because it can simulate problems considering realistic heterogeneity inherent to geologic formations.