A methodology for extreme groundwater surge predetermination in carbonate aquifers: Groundwater flood frequency analysis


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Publication Date

April 2008


The present paper introduces a methodology devoted to groundwater flooding hazard assessment. It focuses on groundwater floodings due to water table rises that are induced by heavy rainfall events. This special kind of flooding can cause devastating damages, particularly in fractured and karstified carbonate aquifers. Indeed, hydrodynamic conditions prevailing in these heterogeneous formations can involve strong groundwater surges. The developed methodology shows how flood frequency analysis methods can be applied in groundwater flood frequency analysis. Actually, it consists in estimating the T-year hydraulic head that characterizes the T-year groundwater surge, given a return period T. It also aims at defining the rainfall events likely to cause such extreme groundwater surges. This methodology was applied within the framework of a building construction project in a karstic Mediterranean aquifer located in Southern France. The present paper is designated to be a first contribution to groundwater flood frequency analysis. This new field of research has to be further developed in order to put forward consensus guidelines for hydrogeologists and decision-makers as in flood frequency analysis.


Groundwater Flooding, Frequency Analysis, Fractured Aquifer, Karst, Hydraulic Head, Rainfall Event

Document Type



Journal of Hydrology, Vol. 352, no. 1--2 (2008-04-30).