Geological controls and effects of floodplain asymmetry on river-groundwater interactions in the southeastern Coastal Plain, USA
Channel sediment and alluvial aquifer hydraulic properties exert a major control on river-groundwater interactions. Channels and floodplains are often asymmetrical, resulting in differences in sediment hydraulic properties across the river. Floodplain asymmetry is common along Coastal Plain rivers in South Carolina and North Carolina, USA. The Tar River, North Carolina, has an asymmetrical valley. The study objective was to characterize the effects of floodplain asymmetry and geological controls on river-groundwater interactions. Floodplain and river channel sediments adjacent to the river were characterized with split spoon cores and hand auger samples along a 22-km reach. Hydrogeology was characterized with 38 piezometers and water level recorders in and adjacent to the river. Ground penetrating radar was used to define the shallow stratigraphy. Channel sediments were significantly different between the north and south sides of the river. Hydraulic conductivity and groundwater inputs were greater on the side of the river (north) that contained more permeable fluvial deposits. Groundwater chemistry (δ18O, specific conductance) data also suggested greater exchange between surface water and groundwater on the north side of the river channel. A conceptual hydrogeological model illustrates that groundwater movement and contaminant transport to the river differs across the channel due to asymmetrical geology. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.
O'Driscoll, M; Johnson, P; Mallinson, D
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