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Geophysical and Sedimentological Investigations of Peatlands for the Assessment of Lithology and Subsurface Water Pathways

Institute of Geography and Geology, Department of Physical Geography, University Wuerzburg, Am Hubland, 97074 Würzburg, Germany
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Geosciences 2019, 9(3), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9030118
Received: 30 December 2018 / Revised: 29 January 2019 / Accepted: 1 February 2019 / Published: 8 March 2019
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Abstract

Peatlands located on slopes (herein called slope bogs) are typical landscape units in the Hunsrueck, a low mountain range in Southwestern Germany. The pathways of the water feeding the slope bogs have not yet been documented and analyzed. The identification of the different mechanisms allowing these peatlands to originate and survive requires a better understanding of the subsurface lithology and hydrogeology. Hence, we applied a multi-method approach to two case study sites in order to characterize the subsurface lithology and to image the variable spatio-temporal hydrological conditions. The combination of Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) and an ERT-Monitoring and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), in conjunction with direct methods and data (borehole drilling and meteorological data), allowed us to gain deeper insights into the subsurface characteristics and dynamics of the peatlands and their catchment area. The precipitation influences the hydrology of the peatlands as well as the interflow in the subsurface. Especially, the geoelectrical monitoring data, in combination with the precipitation and temperature data, indicate that there are several forces driving the hydrology and hydrogeology of the peatlands. While the water content of the uppermost layers changes with the weather conditions, the bottom layer seems to be more stable and changes to a lesser extent. At the selected case study sites, small differences in subsurface properties can have a huge impact on the subsurface hydrogeology and the water paths. Based on the collected data, conceptual models have been deduced for the two case study sites. View Full-Text
Keywords: peatland; slope bogs; geomorphology; subsurface hydrology; electrical resistivity tomography; ground penetrating radar; boreholes; Hunsrueck peatland; slope bogs; geomorphology; subsurface hydrology; electrical resistivity tomography; ground penetrating radar; boreholes; Hunsrueck
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Trappe, J.; Kneisel, C. Geophysical and Sedimentological Investigations of Peatlands for the Assessment of Lithology and Subsurface Water Pathways. Geosciences 2019, 9, 118.

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