The groundwater tidal prism is defined as the volume of water that inundates a porous medium, forced by one tidal oscillation in surface water. The pressure gradient that generates the prism acts on the subterranean estuary. Analytical models for the groundwater tidal prism and associated benthic flux are presented. The prism and flux are shown to be directly proportional to porosity, tidal amplitude, and the length of the groundwater wave; flux is inversely proportional to tidal period. The duration of discharge flux exceeds the duration of recharge flux over one tidal period; and discharge flux continues for some time following low tide. Models compare favorably with laboratory observations and are applied to a South Atlantic Bight study area, where tide generates an 11-m3 groundwater tidal prism per m of shoreline, and drives 81 m3 s −1 to the study area, which describes 23% of an observational estimate. In a marine water body, the discharge component of any oscillatory benthic water flux is submarine groundwater discharge. Benthic flux transports constituents between groundwater and surface water, and is a process by which pollutant loading and saltwater intrusion may occur in coastal areas.
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Analytical models for the groundwater tidal prism and associated benthic water flux