Journal of Hydrology, 13 February 2014, Vol.509, pp.601-614
An important prerequisite to better understand the transport of nutrients and contaminants across the river-aquifer interface and possible implications for biogeochemical transformations is to accurately characterize and asses the exchange fluxes. In this study we investigate how monsoonal precipitation events and the resulting variability in river discharge affect the dynamics of river-aquifer exchange and the corresponding flux rates. We evaluate potential impacts of the investigated exchange fluxes on local water quality. Hydraulic gradients along a piezometer transect were monitored at a river reach in a small catchment in South Korea, where the hydrologic dynamics are driven by the East-Asian Monsoon. We used heat as a tracer to constrain river-aquifer exchange fluxes in a two-dimensional flow and heat transport model implemented in the numerical code HydroGeoSphere, which was calibrated to the measured temperature and total head data. To elucidate potential effects of river-aquifer exchange dynamics on biogeochemical transformations at the river-aquifer interface, river water and groundwater samples were collected and analyzed for dissolved organic carbon (DOC), nitrate (NO ) and dissolved oxygen saturation (DO ). Our results illustrate highly variable hydrologic conditions during the monsoon season characterized by temporal and spatial variability in river-aquifer exchange fluxes with frequent flow reversals (changes between gaining and losing conditions). Intense monsoonal precipitation events and the associated rapid changes in river stage are the dominant driver for the observed riverbed flow reversals. The chemical data suggest that the flow reversals, when river water high in DOC is pushed into the nitrate-rich groundwater below the stream and subsequently returns to the stream may facilitate and enhance the natural attenuation of nitrate in the shallow groundwater.
River-Aquifer Exchange Fluxes ; Heat As a Natural Tracer ; Monsoonal-Type Climate ; Hydraulic Gradient Reversals ; Hydrogeosphere ; Natural Attenuation of Nitrate ; Geography
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