Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

Subsurface Flow and Transport

We develop and apply a range of high-performance computational methods and software tools to Earth science projects in support of environmental health, cleaner energy, and national security.

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Carl Gable and Hari Viswanathan explain dfnWorks, a computational software suite that provides subsurface fracture network simulations and models.

The team's computational suites provide subsurface fracture network models and simulations.

The Subsurface Flow and Transport (SFT) Team

We develop and apply subsurface flow and transport modeling in porous and fractured media, from pore-scale lattice Boltzmann to regional watershed scales with applications to programs involving subsurface water, subsurface contamination of aquifers, CO2 capture storage and utilization, energy development in hydrothermal and fossil energy, environmental cleanup, and waste-storage.


Capabilities include:

  • Characterization and remediation of the Nevada Underground Test Area, UGTA
  • Characterization and remediation of the LANL specific issues for Environmental Programs, EP
  • Increasing the efficiency of hydraulic fracturing and reducing the environmental impacts
  • Carbon sequestration risk analysis
  • Underground repository science for nuclear waste disposal for the Spent Fuel Waste Storage Campaign, SFWST
  • Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment Tropics and Arctic
  • Advancing Brittle Failure with Dynamic Graphs and Machine Learning (LDRD DR)
Software and Simulation Tools

See all EES Software here →

Our Researchers

Satish Karra

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Satish Karra: Team Leader

  • Physics-based modeling of porous and fractured media
  • High-performance computing
  • Reduced-order modeling and machine learning

Shaoping Chu

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Shaoping Chu: Research Scientist

  • Subsurface flow and transport model development and simulation
  • System level model development, application and uncertainty analysis
  • CO2 sequestration and risk analysis
  • Performance assessment modeling and analysis
  • Marine biogeochemistry, interactions between atmosphere-ocean-land

Jeffrey Hyman

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Jeffrey Hyman: Research Scientist

  • Subsurface flow and transport modeling
  • Discrete Fracture Network generation and analysis (dfnWorks)
  • Stochastic pore-scale generation
  • Graph theoretical approaches for system reduction, reduced order models
  • Particle based transport analysis, numerical analysis
  • Stochastic hydrology, computational mesh generation

Zhiming Lu

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Zhiming Lu: Research Scientist

  • Sensitivity analysis of flow to model shape parameters
  • Methodology development for quantifying flow/transport in randomly heterogeneous porous media
  • Inverse modeling with various techniques
  • Upscaling of heterogeneous porous media
  • Simulations of rare events using importance sampling methods

Nataliia Makedonska

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Nataliia Makedonska: Research Scientist

  • Subsurface flow and transport simulation in fractured media
  •  odeling & analysis of contaminant transport, reservoir-scale DFN modeling and prediction of natural gas production, CO2 sequestration
  • Software development (dfnWorks): particle tracking capability, development and implementation of fracture aperture variability
  • Meshing algorithms for discrete fracture network mesh production

Terry Miller

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Terry Miller: Research Technologist

  • Mesh Generation and model setup: regional flow and transport, nuclear waste disposal, CO2 sequestration, watershed management, permafrost
  • Advancing next generation meshing, model integration, geologic data, and software practices
  • Software development, maintenance, and QA (e.g., LaGriT and FEHM)

Daniel OMalley

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Daniel O'Malley: Research Scientist

  • Subsurface flow and transport
  • Inverse analysis, data assimilation, and uncertainty quantification
  • Quantum computing
  • Machine learning

Qinjun Kang

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Qinjun Kang: Research Scientist

  • Pore-scale and multiscale modeling of transport and interfacial phenomena in porous media
  • Hydrocarbon exploration and production
  • Geologic storage of carbon dioxide and nuclear waste
  • Coupled mass transport and electrochemical processes in fuel cells and batteries

Maruti Mudunuru

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Maruti Kumar Mudunuru: Research Scientist

  • Applied machine learning: development of reduced-order models and scaling laws for reactive-transport and material damage applications
  • Internet of support for geophysical and environmental sensing
  • Reduced-order models for various quantities of interest
  • Sequential and joint inversion; development of numerical techniques to fuse geophysical and flow data to constrain fracture networks
  • Finite element and finite volume methods; development of structure-preserving computational frameworks to simulate coupled flow, reactive-transport, and damage

Rajesh Pawar

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Rajesh Pawar: Research Scientist

  • Numerical simulation and development of coupled thermal, hydrologic, mechanical, and chemical processes in complex porous media with applications to:
    • CO2 sequestration
    • Conventional oil & gas production
    • Unconventional oil & gas production
    • Enhanced oil recovery
    • Nuclear waste disposal
    • Groundwater contamination
  • Risk Assessment and System Modeling
    • Machine Learning & Reduced Order Model development
    • Uncertainty quantification

Phil Stauffer

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Phil Stauffer: Research Scientist

  • Pore-scale HPC simulation of transport and interfacial phenomena in energy and environment
  • Conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon exploration and production; geologic storage of carbon dioxide and nuclear waste; fate and transport of underground contaminants; coupled mass transport and electrochemical processes in fuel cells and batteries
  • Multiscale/hybrid modeling and simulation: coupling lattice Boltzmann method (LBM) with CFD; LBM with Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations; LBM with reservoir simulators

Monty Vesselinov

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Monty Vesselinov: Research Scientist

  • Machine learning, blind source separation, feature extraction, data compression, high-performance and quantum computing
  • Model inversion, parameter estimation, uncertainty, sensitivity and risk analysis, performance assessment, decision support (MADS)
  • Experimental and remediation design
  • Simulation of multiphase flow, transport and biogeochemical reactions in porous/fractured media (CHROTRAN)
  • Hydrogeology and biogeochemistry, reservoir modeling
  • Characterization of heterogeneity of subsurface flow and transport medium, high-resolution stochastic imaging, stochastic inversion


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Hari Viswanathan: Research Scientist

  • HPC Simulation of flow, reactive transport in porous and fractured media: hydraulic fracturing (DOE FE Oil and Gas, LDRD, DOE BES, Chevron); COsequestration (Southwest Regional Partnership for Carbon Sequestration); nuclear waste disposal (Spent Fuel Waste Disposition); nuclear nonproliferation
  • Integrating simulation and experiment from the pore to reservoir scale: Lattice Boltzmann simulation and microfluidics experiments; fracture propagation simulation and triaxial coreflood experiments; discrete fracture network simulation of flow through reservoir scale fracture networks
  • Uncertainty quantification: development of reduced order models of HPC simulation for use in uncertainty quantification studies; utilizing machine learning and graph theory to develop reduced order models of computational physics simulations

Yu Chen

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Yu Chen: Postdoctoral Researcher

  • High-fidelity lattice Boltzmann simulation of multiphase flow in porous media with applications on geological CO2 sequestration and hydrocarbon recovery
  • Particle-resolved direct numerical simulations with applications on hydraulic fracturing and biomedical engineering
  • High-performance computing on GPU and manycore processors

Eric Guiltinan

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Eric Guiltnan: Postdoctoral Researcher

  • Pore-scale fluid flow modeling, fluid flow through fractures
  • Carbon geologic sequestration, groundwater modeling
  • Environmental remediation, well design and installation
  • Soil and groundwater sampling

Min Liu

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Min Liu: Postdoctoral Researcher

  • Reactive transport simulation in porous and fractured media
  • Geologic storage of carbon dioxide and spent nuclear waste modelling
  • Hydrocarbon exploration and production

Shriram Srinivasan

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Shriram Srinivasan: Postdoctoral Researcher

  • Continuum mechanics of fluids and solids
  • Flow through porous media
  • Multi-scale computational methods
  • Graphs and machine learning for discrete fracture networks

Matthew Sweeney

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Matthew Sweeney - Postdoctoral Researcher

  • Computational fluid dynamics, geological and geophysical flows
  • Eulerian-Eulerian multiphase models
  • Discrete fracture network, discrete fracture matrix modeling
  • Numerical methods for coupling multidimensional unstructured meshes
  • Fluid-fluid interfaces and level set methods
  • Explosive volcanism and interpretation of pyroclastic deposits
  • Direct numerical simulations of turbulent density currents
  • Compressible flow phenomena of multiparticle-gas mixtures


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John Golden - Postdoctoral Researcher

  • Quantum annealing and computing
  • Linear and semi-definite programs
  • Discrete optimization
  • Quantum and conformal field theories


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Mohamed Mehana - Postdoctoral Researcher

  • Subsurface phenomena and fluid flow in porous media
  • Molecular simulation and computational geochemistry
  • Numerical modeling and reservoir simulation
  • Deep learning and applied machine learning
  • Salinity impact on water dynamics in porous media and interfaces