ESTIMATION OF GROUNDWATER MEAN RESIDENCE TIME IN UNCONFINED KARST AQUIFERS USING RECESSION CURVES
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A new parsimonious method is proposed to estimate the mean residence time of groundwater emerging at any specific time during recession periods from karst springs. The method is applicable to unconfined karstic aquifers with no-flow boundaries. The only required data are numerous consecutive spring hydrographs involving a wide range of discharge from high to low flow and the relevant precipitation hyetographs. First, a master recession curve is constructed using the matching-strip method. Then, discharge components corresponding to the individual hydrographs at any desired time are estimated by extrapolation of recession curves based on the master curve. Residence times are also taken from the time elapsed since the events’ centroids. Finally, the mean residence time is calculated by a discharge-weighted average. The proposed method was evaluated for the Sheshpeer Spring in Iran. There are 259 sinkholes in the catchment area of the Sheshpeer unconfined aquifer, and all the boundaries are physically no-flow. The mean residence time calculated by the proposed method was about one year longer than that of uranine dye tracer. The tracer mean time is representative of flowing water between the injection and emergence points, but the mean time by the proposed method is representative of all active circulating water throughout the entire aquifer. The proposed method is more appropriate, in practice, especially in groundwater recharge and contaminant vulnerability assessments, than isotopic methods, in cases where a small portion of water with exceptionally high residence time increases the mean. Moreover, isotopic methods are more expensive and not capable of directly determining the residence-time distribution.
Estimation, Groundwater, Mean Residence Time, Unconfined Karst Aquifers, Recession Curves
Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, Vol. 77, no. 2 (2015-08-01).
KAVOUSI, ALIREZA and RAEISI, EZZAT, "ESTIMATION OF GROUNDWATER MEAN RESIDENCE TIME IN UNCONFINED KARST AQUIFERS USING RECESSION CURVES" (2015). KIP Articles. 1839.