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Submarine groundwater discharge estimates at a Florida coastal site based on continuous radon measurements

Submarine groundwater discharge estimates at a Florida coastal site based on continuous radon measurements

Biogeochemistry 66(1-2): 55-73

The direct discharge of groundwater into the coastal zone has received increased attention in the last few years as it is now recognized that this process represents an important pathway for material transport. Assessing these material fluxes is difficult, as there is no simple means to gauge the water flux. We estimated the changing flux of groundwater discharge into a coastal area in the northeast Gulf of Mexico (Florida) based on continuous measurements of radon concentrations over a several day period. Changing radon inventories were converted to fluxes after accounting for losses due to atmospheric evasion and mixing. Radon fluxes are then converted to groundwater inflow rates by estimating the radon concentration of the fluids discharging into the study domain. Groundwater flow was also assessed via seepage meters, radium isotopes, and modeling during this period as part of an "intercomparison" study. The radon results suggest that the flow is: (1) highly variable with flows ranging from X5 to 50 cm/day; and (2) strongly influenced by the tides, with spikes in the flow every 12 hours. The discharge estimates and pattern of flow derived from the radon model matches the automated seepage meter records very closely.

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Accession: 004335314

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DOI: 10.1023/b:biog.0000006057.63478.fa

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