Monitoring deformation from hydrologic processes in a karst aquifer using long-baseline tiltmeters

Abstract : The aim of this study is to bring new information on water storage dynamics in karst systems from tiltmeter measurements. Newly developed long-base hydrostatic tiltmeters are installed at two sites on the Larzac plateau (France) in a karst aquifer of similar to 100 km(2) recharge area. Each site is located within a karst cave where two tilt directions are monitored. Significant reversible tilt deformation reaching amplitudes of 10(-6) to 10(-5) rad was observed at both sites following heavy precipitation. Elastic parameters were determined with an experiment in which a tiltmeter site was loaded by up to 25 t of weight at strategic locations at the ground surface. Mechanisms responsible for the observed tilt were then examined by means of finite element modeling. Deformation induced by water pressure changes in fractures is our preferred interpretation as the most plausible mechanism. Within this scope, we used the tiltmeter responses to extract time constants using lumped parameter modeling. Time constants are interpreted to be associated with the filling and emptying of fractures nearby the tiltmeters. These instruments therefore appear as useful tools to study the local dynamics of water infiltration in karst systems.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - 4:51:54 PM
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Thomas Jacob, Jean Chery, Frederick Boudin, Roger Bayer. Monitoring deformation from hydrologic processes in a karst aquifer using long-baseline tiltmeters. Water Resources Research, American Geophysical Union, 2010, 46, pp.W09542. ⟨10.1029/2009WR008082⟩. ⟨hal-00534461⟩

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