Improved Regional Groundwater Flow Modeling Using Drainage Features: a Case Study of the Central Northern Karst Aquifer System of Puerto Rico (usa)

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Hydrogeology Journal


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In northern Puerto Rico (USA), subsurface conduit networks with unknown characteristics, and surface features such as springs, rivers, lagoons and wetlands, drain the coastal karst aquifers. In this study, drain lines connecting sinkholes and springs are used to improve the developed regional model by simulating the drainage effects of conduit networks. Implemented in an equivalent porous media (EPM) approach, the model with drains is able to roughly reproduce the spring discharge hydrographs in response to rainfall. Hydraulic conductivities are found to be scale dependent and significantly increase with higher test radius, indicating scale dependency of the EPM approach. Similar to other karst regions in the world, hydraulic gradients are steeper where the transmissivity is lower approaching the coastline. This study enhances current understanding of the complex flow patterns in karst aquifers and suggests that using a drainage feature improves modeling results where available data on conduit characteristics are minimal.


Groundwater flow, Conduit drainage, Karst, Discharge hydrograph, Puerto Rico (USA)

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