Groundwater-flow modeling in the Yucatan karstic aquifer, Mexico
Download Full Text
The current conceptual model of the unconfined karstic aquifer in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, is that a fresh-water lens floats above denser saline water that penetrates more than 40 km inland. The transmissivity of the aquifer is very high so the hydraulic gradient is very low, ranging from 7–10 mm/km through most of the northern part of the peninsula. The computer modeling program AQUIFER was used to investigate the regional groundwater flow in the aquifer. The karstified zone was modeled using the assumption that it acts hydraulically similar to a granular, porous medium. As part of the calibration, the following hypotheses were tested: (1) karstic features play an important role in the groundwater-flow system; (2) a ring or belt of sinkholes in the area is a manifestation of a zone of high transmissivity that facilitates the channeling of groundwater toward the Gulf of Mexico; and (3) the geologic features in the southern part of Yucatan influence the groundwater-flow system. The model shows that the Sierrita de Ticul fault, in the southwestern part of the study area, acts as a flow barrier and head values decline toward the northeast. The modeling also shows that the regional flow-system dynamics have not been altered despite the large number of pumping wells because the volume of water pumped is small compared with the volume of recharge, and the well-developed karst system of the region has a very high hydraulic conductivity.
Groundwater Flow, Hydraulic Properties Of Aquifers, Karst Numerical Modeling, Yucatán
Hydrogeology Journal, Vol. 10, no. 5 (2002-10).
González-Herrera, Roger; Sánchez-y-Pinto, Ismael; and Gamboa-Vargas, José, "Groundwater-flow modeling in the Yucatan karstic aquifer, Mexico" (2002). KIP Articles. 2158.