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Publication Date

December 2019


Knowledge about the hydraulic connections between submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) and its terrestrial coastal catchment is relevant with regard to the management of marine and coastal waters in karst areas. This study applies different methods and monitoring approaches to trace SGD between the Burren Limestone Plateau and Galway Bay in western Ireland, via an excavated sinkhole shaft and deep conduit. Areas of potential SGD were first delineated based on sea surface temperature anomalies using Landsat satellite images. Two fluorescent dyes and solid wood chips were then used as tracers. Solid wood chips were tested as potential means to circumvent the problem of high dispersion in the sea, impacting on the fluorescent dyes to yield readings below the detection limits. Sampling was conducted at 10 different terrestrial locations and in the sea at Galway Bay. Offshore sampling was conducted in transects over a period of four successive days onboard of a vessel using an automated field fluorometer and a conductivity-temperature-depth sensor. No wood chips were recovered in the sea but both fluorescent dyes were successfully sampled. The estimated travel times are in the order of 100 to 354 m/h, and localised tracer readings correlate well in space and time with low conductivity readings. By confirming hydraulic connections between the two karst features and Galway Bay, the study substantiates the hypothesised importance of Variscan veins with regard to regional groundwater flow in the region.


Coastal Aquifer, Tracer Test, Submarine Groundwater Discharge, Remote Sensing, Ireland

Document Type



Vol. 28 (2019-12-09).





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