Reactive transport codes for subsurface environmental simulation

C.I. Steefel*, C.A.J. Appelo, B. Arora, D. Kalbacher, O. Kolditz, V. Lagneau, P.C. Lichtner, K.U. Mayer, J.C.L. Meeussen, S. Molins, D. Moulton, D. Shao, J. Simunek, N. Spycher, S.B. Yabusaki, G.T. Yeh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

436 Citations (Scopus)


A general description of the mathematical and numerical formulations used in modern numerical reactive transport codes relevant for subsurface environmental simulations is presented. The formulations are followed by short descriptions of commonly used and available subsurface simulators that consider continuum representations of flow, transport, and reactions in porous media. These formulations are applicable to most of the subsurface environmental benchmark problems included in this special issue. The list of codes described briefly here includes PHREEQC, HPx, PHT3D, OpenGeoSys (OGS), HYTEC, ORCHESTRA, TOUGHREACT, eSTOMP, HYDROGEOCHEM, CrunchFlow, MIN3P, and PFLOTRAN. The descriptions include a high-level list of capabilities for each of the codes, along with a selective list of applications that highlight their capabilities and historical development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-478
JournalComputational Geosciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • variably saturated flow
  • dynamic leaching tests
  • fluid-rock interaction
  • porous-media
  • chemical-reactions
  • co2 sequestration
  • biogeochemical processes
  • geochemical speciation
  • preferential flow
  • heterogeneous aquifers


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