Groundwater conditions along the seawater/freshwater interface on a volcanic island and a depositional area in Japan

Atsunao Marui


Fresh groundwater comes in contact with seawater at the downstream end of its flow system. Most previous work has discussed the shape of the seawater/freshwater interface on the basis of Ghyben-Herzberg's law. The groundwater, however, pushes the seawater farther offshore side than predicted by the law, giving rise to freshwater flows even below the bottom of the sea. A previous study found that the distribution of submarine groundwater discharge and the point of the seawater/freshwater interface on the marine floor are closely related. The cross-sectional shape of the interface onshore is clarified by using electrical tomography and observation of groundwater and soil samples taken from observation wells located in the coastal area (by a volcanic island and associated deposits). In both fields, diving was carried out to find the submarine groundwater discharge on the sea-floor and to take water samples. From the analysis of the water discharged on the marine floor and/or electric conductivity measurements in the marine sands, it is shown the freshwater flows (discharges) along the interface, even in the submarine deposits. The understanding of groundwater flows at the downstream end of the groundwater flow system (from mountainous to marine) will facilitate the development of water resources and the evaluation of environments.


submarine groundwater discharge; seawater/freshwater interface; groundwater flow; far-east area

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