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The hydrochemistry of small seasonal ponds was investigated by studying relations between ground-water and surface water in a forested Coastal Plain drainage basin. Observation of changes in the water table in a series of wells equipped with automatic water-level recorders showed that the relation between water-table configuration and basin topography changes seasonally, and particularly in response to spring recharge. Furthermore, in this study area the water table is not a subdued expression of the land surface topography, as is commonly assumed. During the summer and fall months, a water-table trough underlies sandy ridges separating the seasonal ponds, and maximum water-table altitudes prevail in the sediments beneath the dry pond bottoms. As the ponds fill with water during the winter, maximum water-table altitudes shift to the upland-margin zone adjacent to the seasonal ponds. Increases in pond stage are associated with the development of transient water-table mounds at the upland-margin wells during the spring. The importance of small local-flow systems adjacent to the seasonal ponds also is shown by the similarities in the chemistry of the shallow groundwater in the upland margin and water in the seasonal ponds. The upland margin and surface water samples have low pH (generally less than 5.0), and contain large concentrations of dissolved aluminum (generally more than 100 ??g 1-1), and low bicarbonate concentrations (2 mg l4 or less). In contrast, the parts of the surficial aquifer that do not experience transient mounding have higher pH and larger concentrations of bicarbonate. These results suggest that an understanding of the hydrochemistry of seasonally ponded wetlands requires intensive study of the adjacent shallow groundwater-flow system. ?? 1993.
Additional Publication Details
Hydrology and chemistry of groundwater and seasonal ponds in the Atlantic Coastal Plain in Delaware, USA