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Time-lapse microgravity surveys reveal water storage heterogeneity of a karst aquifer

Abstract : Time-lapse microgravity surveying combined with absolute gravity measurements is used to investigate water storage changes in a karst aquifer of similar to 100 km(2) area. The survey consists of 40 gravity stations measured with a relative gravimeter; absolute gravity is measured at three stations for each survey. In total, four gravity surveys are performed over a 2 year time period during consecutive wet and dry periods. Survey precisions range between 2.4 and 5 mu Gal, enabling statistically significant detection of 10 mu Gal change, i.e., similar to 0.25 m equivalent water level change. Observed gravity changes are coherent between consecutive survey periods, i.e., net water withdrawal and net water recharge is observed, reaching changes as high as 22 mu Gal. Observed gravity changes allow refining evapotranspiration estimates, which may serve to improve the water budget of the aquifer. High-and low-gravity amplitude zones characterize the karst system, demonstrating spatially variable storage behavior. Geomorphologic considerations are invoked to explain the location of preferential zones of water storage, and a conceptual model of water storage is discussed for the studied karst.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, June 30, 2010 - 3:13:41 PM
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Thomas Jacob, Roger Bayer, Jean Chery, Nicolas Le Moigne. Time-lapse microgravity surveys reveal water storage heterogeneity of a karst aquifer. Journal of Geophysical Research, American Geophysical Union, 2010, 115, pp.B06402. ⟨10.1029/2009JB006616⟩. ⟨hal-00496400⟩



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