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Lugeon Test Theory and Analysis Method


The Lugeon test (or Packer Test) is an in-situ testing method widely used to estimate the average hydraulic conductivity of rock formations. The test is named after Maurice Lugeon (1933), a Swiss geologist who first formulated the test. The test is also referred to as a "water pressure test" or a "packer test". The Lugeon test is a constant rate injection test carried out in a portion of a borehole isolated by inflated packers. Water is injected into the isolated portion of the borehole using a slotted pipe. Water is injected at specific pressure “steps” and the resulting pressure is recorded when the flow has reached a quasi-steady state condition. A pressure transducer is also located in that portion of the borehole to measure the pressure with a help of reading station on the surface. The results provide information about hydraulic conductivity of the rock mass including the rock matrix and the discontinuities (Rolye, undated).


Assumptions and Limitations

One of the main drawbacks of the Lugeon test is that only a limited volume of rock around the hole is actually affected by the test. It has been estimated that the effect of the Lugeon tests – with a test interval length of 10 feet - is restricted to an approximate radius of 30 feet around the borehole (Bliss and Rushton, 1984). This suggests that the hydraulic conductivity value estimated from this test is only representative for a cylinder of rock delimited by the length of the test interval and the radius given above. The test can be applied for both vertical and slanted/angled boreholes. AquiferTest assumes that flow meter readings are taken every one minute.


References and Suggested Reading

Additional information can be obtained from hydrogeologic references such as:

Bliss, J. and Rushton, K., 1984. The reliability of packer tests for estimating the hydraulic conductivity of aquifers. Q. J. Eng. Geol. Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 81-91.


Fell, R., MacGregor, P., Stapledon. D., Bell, G., 2005. Geotechnical Engineering of Dams. Taylor & Francis. London. UK.


Houlsby, A., 1976. Routine Interpretation of the Lugeon Water-Test. Q. J. Eng. Geol. Vol. 9, pp. 303-313.


Lancaster-Jones, P.F.F, 1975.  The interpretation of the Lugeon water-test Q. J. Eng. Geol. Vol. 8, No. 2,  pp. 151-154.


Lugeon, M., 1933. Barrages et  géologie: méthodes de recherches, terrassement et imperméabilisation. Librairie de l’Université, F. Rouge & Cie, éditeurs. Paris, 1933.


Quiñones-Rozo, C., 2010. Lugeon test interpretation, revisited. In: Collaborative Management of Integrated Watersheds, US Society of Dams, 30th Annual Conference, S. 405–414.


Royle, M., Undated. Standard Operating Procedures for Borehole Packager Testing, SRK Consulting.



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