The role of uplift and erosion in the persistence of saline groundwater in the shallow subsurface

Geophysical Research Letters
By: , and 

Links

Abstract

In many regions of the world, the shallow (<300 m) subsurface is replenished with meteoric recharge within a few centuries or millennia, but in some regions saline groundwater persists despite abundant rainfall. Analyses of the flushing rate of shallow groundwater usually consider the permeability and recharge rate and a static landscape. The influence of landscape evolution can become important over millions of years, however. Here we present numerical simulations of fluid flow and transport in the top 1 km of a sedimentary foreland basin dominated by aquitards, where the rate of uplift and erosion (20 m Ma−1) balances that of meteoric flushing. Paleozoic age saline groundwater and brine persist at shallow depths that might otherwise have contained potable water. Similar hydrogeologic conditions, and uplift and erosion rates, likely exist in many other regions of the world, where a moving landscape has probably never been considered as an important contributor to groundwater quality.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The role of uplift and erosion in the persistence of saline groundwater in the shallow subsurface
Series title Geophysical Research Letters
DOI 10.1002/2017GL072980
Volume 44
Issue 8
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) Virginia Water Science Center
Description 10 p.
First page 3672
Last page 3681