Self-Potential as a Predictor of Seawater Intrusion in Coastal Groundwater Boreholes

M. T. Graham (Corresponding Author), D. J. MacAllister, J. Vinogradov, M. D. Jackson, A. P. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Monitoring of self-potentials (SP) in the Chalk of England has shown that a consistent electrical potential gradient exists within a coastal groundwater borehole previously affected by seawater intrusion (SI) and that this gradient is absent in boreholes further inland. Furthermore, a small but characteristic reduction in this gradient was observed several days prior to SI occurring. We present results from a combined hydrodynamic and electrodynamic model, which matches the observed phenomena for the first time and sheds light on the source mechanisms for the spatial and temporal distribution of SP. The model predictions are highly sensitive to the relative contribution of electrochemical exclusion and diffusion potentials, the ‘exclusion efficiency’, in different rock strata. Geoelectric heterogeneity, largely due to marls and hardgrounds with a relatively high exclusion efficiency, was the key factor in controlling the magnitude of the modelled SP gradient ahead of the saline front and its evolution prior to breakthrough. The model results suggest that, where sufficient geoelectric heterogeneity exists, borehole SP may be used as an early warning mechanism for SI.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6055-6071
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume54
Issue number9
Early online date6 Sep 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018

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self potential
borehole
seawater
groundwater
electrodynamics
chalk
temporal distribution
hydrodynamics
spatial distribution
monitoring
prediction
rock

Keywords

  • self-potentials
  • seawater intrusion
  • coastal aquifiers
  • modeling

Cite this

Self-Potential as a Predictor of Seawater Intrusion in Coastal Groundwater Boreholes. / Graham, M. T. (Corresponding Author); MacAllister, D. J. ; Vinogradov, J.; Jackson, M. D.; Butler, A. P. .

In: Water Resources Research, Vol. 54, No. 9, 09.2018, p. 6055-6071.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Graham, M. T. ; MacAllister, D. J. ; Vinogradov, J. ; Jackson, M. D. ; Butler, A. P. . / Self-Potential as a Predictor of Seawater Intrusion in Coastal Groundwater Boreholes. In: Water Resources Research. 2018 ; Vol. 54, No. 9. pp. 6055-6071.
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abstract = "Monitoring of self-potentials (SP) in the Chalk of England has shown that a consistent electrical potential gradient exists within a coastal groundwater borehole previously affected by seawater intrusion (SI) and that this gradient is absent in boreholes further inland. Furthermore, a small but characteristic reduction in this gradient was observed several days prior to SI occurring. We present results from a combined hydrodynamic and electrodynamic model, which matches the observed phenomena for the first time and sheds light on the source mechanisms for the spatial and temporal distribution of SP. The model predictions are highly sensitive to the relative contribution of electrochemical exclusion and diffusion potentials, the ‘exclusion efficiency’, in different rock strata. Geoelectric heterogeneity, largely due to marls and hardgrounds with a relatively high exclusion efficiency, was the key factor in controlling the magnitude of the modelled SP gradient ahead of the saline front and its evolution prior to breakthrough. The model results suggest that, where sufficient geoelectric heterogeneity exists, borehole SP may be used as an early warning mechanism for SI.",
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note = "This work was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council in the UK, as part of the Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet Doctor Training Partnership, run by the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London. We thank Southern Water for access to the boreholes at Saltdean and Balsdean. We thank Southern Water and Atkins Global for funding the installation of the equipment. We also thank Dr Amadi Ijioma for providing a prototype of the electrodynamic modelling code in MATLAB, which has since been adapted for use in a coastal chalk aquifer. Three anonymous reviewers are thanked for their comments, which greatly helped to improve the manuscript. The data used in this paper are in the tables, figures and cited information. The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.",
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N1 - This work was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council in the UK, as part of the Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet Doctor Training Partnership, run by the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London. We thank Southern Water for access to the boreholes at Saltdean and Balsdean. We thank Southern Water and Atkins Global for funding the installation of the equipment. We also thank Dr Amadi Ijioma for providing a prototype of the electrodynamic modelling code in MATLAB, which has since been adapted for use in a coastal chalk aquifer. Three anonymous reviewers are thanked for their comments, which greatly helped to improve the manuscript. The data used in this paper are in the tables, figures and cited information. The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

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N2 - Monitoring of self-potentials (SP) in the Chalk of England has shown that a consistent electrical potential gradient exists within a coastal groundwater borehole previously affected by seawater intrusion (SI) and that this gradient is absent in boreholes further inland. Furthermore, a small but characteristic reduction in this gradient was observed several days prior to SI occurring. We present results from a combined hydrodynamic and electrodynamic model, which matches the observed phenomena for the first time and sheds light on the source mechanisms for the spatial and temporal distribution of SP. The model predictions are highly sensitive to the relative contribution of electrochemical exclusion and diffusion potentials, the ‘exclusion efficiency’, in different rock strata. Geoelectric heterogeneity, largely due to marls and hardgrounds with a relatively high exclusion efficiency, was the key factor in controlling the magnitude of the modelled SP gradient ahead of the saline front and its evolution prior to breakthrough. The model results suggest that, where sufficient geoelectric heterogeneity exists, borehole SP may be used as an early warning mechanism for SI.

AB - Monitoring of self-potentials (SP) in the Chalk of England has shown that a consistent electrical potential gradient exists within a coastal groundwater borehole previously affected by seawater intrusion (SI) and that this gradient is absent in boreholes further inland. Furthermore, a small but characteristic reduction in this gradient was observed several days prior to SI occurring. We present results from a combined hydrodynamic and electrodynamic model, which matches the observed phenomena for the first time and sheds light on the source mechanisms for the spatial and temporal distribution of SP. The model predictions are highly sensitive to the relative contribution of electrochemical exclusion and diffusion potentials, the ‘exclusion efficiency’, in different rock strata. Geoelectric heterogeneity, largely due to marls and hardgrounds with a relatively high exclusion efficiency, was the key factor in controlling the magnitude of the modelled SP gradient ahead of the saline front and its evolution prior to breakthrough. The model results suggest that, where sufficient geoelectric heterogeneity exists, borehole SP may be used as an early warning mechanism for SI.

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