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In this exercise, students use their intuition to enumerate similarities and differences between groundwater flow and oil migration. The activity is divided into two parts: (1) brainstorming of ideas, and (2) an expanded discussion of selected topics. The instructor begins by briefly reviewing the Rules of Brainstorming and then soliciting answers to a question such as: "How is the flow of groundwater in an aquifer similar to or different from the movement of oil in a petroleum reservoir?" The instructor records the similarities and differences suggested by students in two lists. After a sufficient quantity of responses has been gathered, the instructor chooses certain ideas for closer examination and discussion. (The instructor may decide on target topics in advance, or may choose to 'go with the flow' to explore interesting ideas that emerge from the students.) The activity gives students the opportunity to connect the disciplines of hydrogeology and petroleum geology, with particular emphasis on the concepts of multiphase flow, relative permeability, and saturation distributions at the water table and oil-water contacts.
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