The saltwater-freshwater interface in the Tertiary limestone aquifer, southeast Atlantic outer-continental shelf of the U.S.A.

Journal of Hydrology



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Hydrologic testing in an offshore oil well abandoned by Tenneco, Inc., determined the position of the saltwater-freshwater interface in Tertiary limestones underlying the Florida-Georgia continental shelf of the U.S.A. Previous drilling (JOIDES and U.S.G.S. AMCOR projects) established the existence of freshwater far offshore in this area. At the Tenneco well 55 mi. (???88 km) east of Fernandina Beach, Florida, drill-stem tests made in the interval 1050-1070 ft. (320-326 m) below sea level in the Ocala Limestone recovered a sample with a chloride concentration of 7000 mg l-1. Formation water probably is slightly fresher. Pressure-head measurements indicated equivalent freshwater heads of 24-29 ft. (7.3-8.8 m) above sea level. At the coast (Fernandina Beach), a relatively thin transition zone separating freshwater and saltwater occurs at a depth of 2100 ft. (640 m) below sea level. Fifty-five miles (???88 km) offshore, at the Tenneco well, the base of freshwater is ???1100 ft. (???335 m) below sea level. The difference in approximate depth to the freshwater-saltwater transition at these two locations suggests an interface with a very slight landward slope. Assuming the Hubbert interface equation applies here (because the interface and therefore freshwater flow lines are nearly horizontal) the equilibrium depth to the interface should be 40 times the freshwater head above sea level. Using present-day freshwater heads along the coast in the Hubbert equation results in depths to the interface of less than the observed 2100 ft. (640 m). Substituting predevelopment heads in the equation yields depths greater than 2100 ft. (640 m). Thus the interface appears to be in a transient position between the position that would be compatible with present-day heads and the position that would be compatible with predevelopment heads. This implies that some movement of the interface from the predevelopment position has occurred during the past hundred years. The implied movement is incompatible with the hypothesis that the freshwater occurring far offshore in this area is trapped water remaining since the Pleistocene Epoch. ?? 1982.

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The saltwater-freshwater interface in the Tertiary limestone aquifer, southeast Atlantic outer-continental shelf of the U.S.A.
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Journal of Hydrology
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Journal of Hydrology
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