The behavior of a contaminant plume depends largely on the type of geological profile through which it is moving. Geological structures such as dipping beds, faults, cross-bedding, and facies can affect the rate and direction of a migrating plume. Dipping beds can change the direction of a migrating plume. Faults can act as a barrier or a conduit to the contaminant plume depending on the material in the fault. Interbedded clay lenses in a permeable sand formation can split or retard a sinking contaminant plume and change its shape and course. Fractures and cracks in fractured bedrock formations can act as a conduit to the contaminant plume depending on their size and interconnections. Interaquifer exchange can move a plume of contamination from formations with the greatest hydraulic head to formations of a lesser hydraulic head (Deutsche 1961).
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