Tidally induced groundwater circulation in an unconfined coastal aquifer modeled with a Hele-Shaw cell

Aaron J. Mango, Mark W. Schmeeckle, David Jon Furbish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

We use a scaled Hele-Shaw cell to mimic tidally induced nearshore groundwater motion in an unconfined aquifer. The low slope angle of sandy beaches contributes to a strongly asymmetric pattern of fluid exchange across the water-sediment interface during tidal cycles. This asymmetry leads to a time-averaged groundwater circulation centered beneath the low-tide level; horizontal and vertical components of motion are of the same order. Horizontal seaward flow extends a significant depth beneath the interface, consonant with a time-averaged water table that is elevated above mean sea level, providing the hydraulic gradient necessary to drive this deeper export of mass equal to the time-averaged inflow by infiltration. This tidally forced flow behavior likely contributes to observed fluctuations in submarine seepage rates. Moreover, the circulation largely involves a subsurface cycling of seawater that infiltrates during the rising tide. Measurements of submarine seepage near the tidal zone therefore likely involve this cycled seawater as well as freshwater flows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-236
Number of pages4
JournalGeology
Volume32
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Beach
  • Dupuit approximation
  • Scale model
  • Submarine groundwater discharge
  • Water table

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology

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