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Tidal creeks as hot-spots for hydrological exchange in a coastal landscape

Title data

Glaser, Clarissa ; Frei, Sven ; Massmann, Gudrun ; Gilfedder, Benjamin Silas:
Tidal creeks as hot-spots for hydrological exchange in a coastal landscape.
In: Journal of Hydrology. (March 2021) . - No. 126158.
ISSN 0022-1694
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2021.126158

Abstract in another language

Coastal ecosystem health and sustainability is tightly coupled to submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) and associated nutrient, carbon and pollutant fluxes. However, there are few studies that systematically analyse the interaction between the terrestrial aquifer system, catchment morphology and coastal SGD. The objective of this study was to evaluate the role of catchment morphology and how this influences the spatial distribution, timing and volume of the SGD flux to a branched tidal creek system, on the barrier island Spiekeroog, Germany. The subsurface salinity was mapped using electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) and a hydrogeochemical survey of the shallow groundwater. Temporal and spatial analysis of geochemical tracers (²²²Rn, Cl⁻) in the tidal creek water was integrated into a transient ²²²Rn mass balance model for quantification of SGD rates during two field campaigns that encompassed spring and neap tides. The ERT mapping indicated that fresh groundwater dominated under the dune ridges down to about 15 m depth, but became progressively more brackish seawards. This is likely due to frequent tidal and storm flooding of low-lying areas. The highest groundwater fluxes into the creek were indicated by high ²²²Rn activities (average 468 Bq m⁻³) towards the dune ridge. Chloride concentrations (up to 17.3 g L⁻¹) increased seawards showing the progressive salinization of water in the creek. The freshwater component of SGD was highly variable in time but was highest at low tide, while the total SGD flux (saline + fresh) was highest when tides changed from inflow to outflow as the rapid pressure release on the local aquifer caused a large hydraulic gradient towards the creek. Comparing the freshwater component of mean daily SGD to the creek (179 m³ d⁻¹) with estimated groundwater recharge rates in the catchment (665 m³ d⁻¹) shows that the fresh groundwater discharge exceeds fresh recharge during spring tides (∼120 %) but is was lower than recharge during neap tides (∼27 %). In this study we show that tidal creeks and their relation to catchment morphology are relevant for understanding the spatial and temporal exchange of fresh and saline water between the catchment and coastal zone.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Submarine groundwater discharge (SGD); Radon; Catchment hydrology; Subterranean estuary; Freshwater lens; Coastal aquifer
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Chair Hydrology > Chair Hydrology - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Stefan Peiffer
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 500 Natural sciences
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences, geology
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2021 06:02
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2021 06:02
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/63830