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Investigation of karst hydrodynamics and organization using autocorrelations andT–ΔCcurves

Journal of Hydrology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2006.02.030
  • Karst
  • Transport
  • Suspended Solids
  • Dissolved Phase
  • Deposition
  • Resuspension
  • Autocorrelation
  • T–ΔChysteresis Curves


Summary In karst systems, rain events often result in a decrease in conductivity (a tracer of dissolved phase transport) and an increase in turbidity (a tracer of suspended solids transport) at wells and springs. We investigated the response to rain events at five karst outlets (three springs and two wells) discharging from the cretaceous chalk aquifer of the Haute-Normandie region, France. As the input signal (rainfall) is relatively homogeneous spatially, the differences in the responses at the sites provide information on the internal organization of the karst systems and their hydrodynamic functioning. We used autocorrelation functions and turbidity–conductivity ( T–Δ C) hysteresis curves to analyze the responses. At short time scales, autocorrelation functions allow estimation of the inertia of the conduit flow system. The T–Δ C curves reflect the processes of deposition, resuspension, and direct transport of suspended solids within the karst network. The results show that: (i) a long memory effect for conductivity indicates storage of water in the karst network and deposition of suspended solids, and the transport of the dissolved phase and suspended solids is not the same; (ii) a short memory effect for conductivity indicates that transport of the dissolved phase and suspended solids is synchronous and direct. On the basis of the results at the five sites, we propose three conceptual models of hydrodynamic functioning.

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