Temporal responses of groundwater-surface water exchange to successive storm events

Dudley-Southern, Marina and Binley, Andrew (2015) Temporal responses of groundwater-surface water exchange to successive storm events. Water Resources Research, 51 (2). pp. 1112-1126. ISSN 0043-1397

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Abstract

Groundwater-surface water exchange within the hyporheic zone is widely recognized as a key mechanism controlling the fate of nutrients within catchments. In gaining river systems, groundwater surface water interactions are constrained by upwelling groundwater but there is increasing evidence that a rapid rise in river stage during storm events can result in a temporary reversal of vertical hydraulic gradients, leading to surface water infiltration into the subsurface and supply of surface-borne reactive solutes to this biogeochemically active interface. At a UK study site, using logged hydraulic heads in the surface water, riverbed, and riverbanks and logged electrical conductivity at multiple depths in the riverbed we show that storm events can lead to a temporary reversal of vertical hydraulic gradient with mixing evident up to 30 cm beneath the riverbed. Cross-channel variability is evident, with the center of the channel consistently having shorter reversals of hydraulic gradient, compared to the channel margins. The direction of shallow subsurface riverbank flow at the site is also reactive to storm events, temporarily aligning with the surface flow direction and then reverting back to pre-event conditions. Such a transition of flow paths during events is also likely to lead to expansion of lateral hyporheic exchange. This study provides evidence that storm events can be a key driver of enhanced hyporheic exchange in gaining river systems, which may support nutrient reactions beyond the duration of event-driven change. Our observations demonstrate the dynamic nature of the hyporheic zone, which should be considered when evaluating its biogeochemical function.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Water Resources Research
Additional Information:
Copyright 2015 American Geophysical Union.
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2300/2312
Subjects:
ID Code:
73973
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
18 Jun 2015 05:57
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
14 Jul 2020 04:28