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Water 2014, 6(3), 584-601; doi:10.3390/w6030584
Article

Submarine Groundwater Discharge at a Single Spot Location: Evaluation of Different Detection Approaches

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Received: 6 December 2013 / Revised: 28 February 2014 / Accepted: 4 March 2014 / Published: 24 March 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Tracers)
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Abstract

Submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) into the ocean is of general interest because it acts as vehicle for the transport of dissolved contaminants and/or nutrients into the coastal sea and because it may be accompanied by the loss of significant volumes of freshwater. Due to the large-scale and long-term nature of the related hydrological processes, environmental tracers are required for SGD investigation. The water parameters of electrical conductivity and temperature, the naturally occurring radionuclides of radon and radium as well as the stable water isotopes 18O and 2H have proven in previous studies their general suitability for the detection and quantification of SGD. However, individual hydrogeological settings require a site-specific application of this “tool box”. This study evaluates and compares the applicability of the abovementioned tracers for investigating SGD from a distinct submarine source in a karst environment at Cabbé, southern France. The specific advantages and disadvantages of each individual parameter under the given hydrogeological conditions are discussed. Radon appeared to be the most suitable environmental tracer in the site specific context. The water temperature was less reliable due to the little temperature difference between seawater and groundwater and since the diurnal variation of the air temperature masks potential SGD signals. Radium isotopes are less applicable in the studied region due to the lack of a well-developed subterranean estuary. The stable water isotopes showed results consistent with the salinity and radon data; however, the significantly higher effort required for stable isotope analyses is disadvantageous. A multi-temporal thermal remote sensing approach proved to be a powerful tool for initial SGD surveying.
Keywords: submarine groundwater discharge; SGD; environmental tracers; radon; radium; stable isotopes; multi-temporal thermal remote sensing submarine groundwater discharge; SGD; environmental tracers; radon; radium; stable isotopes; multi-temporal thermal remote sensing
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Schubert, M.; Scholten, J.; Schmidt, A.; Comanducci, J.F.; Pham, M.K.; Mallast, U.; Knoeller, K. Submarine Groundwater Discharge at a Single Spot Location: Evaluation of Different Detection Approaches. Water 2014, 6, 584-601.

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