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Geophysical characterization of the complex dynamics of groundwater and seawater exchange in a highly stressed aquifer system linked to a coastal lagoon (SE Spain)

Rey, J., Martínez, J., Barberá, G.G., García-Aróstegui, J.L., García-Pintado, J. and Martínez-Vicente, D. (2013) Geophysical characterization of the complex dynamics of groundwater and seawater exchange in a highly stressed aquifer system linked to a coastal lagoon (SE Spain). Environmental Earth Sciences, 70 (5). pp. 2271-2282. ISSN 1866-6299

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s12665-013-2472-2

Abstract/Summary

Anthropogenic pressure influences the two-way interactions between shallow aquifers and coastal lagoons. Aquifer overexploitation may lead to seawater intrusion, and aquifer recharge from rainfall plus irrigation may, in turn, increase the groundwater discharge into the lagoon. We analyse the evolution, since the 1950s up to the present, of the interactions between the Campo de Cartagena Quaternary aquifer and the Mar Menor coastal lagoon (SE Spain). This is a very heterogeneous and anisotropic detrital aquifer, where aquifer–lagoon interface has a very irregular geometry. Using electrical resistivity tomography, we clearly identified the freshwater–saltwater transition zone and detected areas affected by seawater intrusion. Severity of the intrusion was spatially variable and significantly related to the density of irrigation wells in 1950s–1960s, suggesting the role of groundwater overexploitation. We distinguish two different mechanisms by which water from the sea invades the land: (a) horizontal advance of the interface due to a wide exploitation area and (b) vertical rise (upconing) caused by local intensive pumping. In general, shallow parts of the geophysical profiles show higher electrical resistivity associated with freshwater mainly coming from irrigation return flows, with water resources mostly from deep confined aquifers and imported from Tagus river, 400 km north. This indicates a likely reversal of the former seawater intrusion process.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO)
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Environmental Systems Science Centre
ID Code:37775
Uncontrolled Keywords:Electrical resistivity tomography, Marine seawater intrusion, Detrital coastal aquifer, Campo de Cartagena, Mar Menor lagoon
Publisher:Springer Berlin Heidelberg

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