Groundwater surface water exchange plays a critical role in physical, biological, and geochemical function of coastal and riverine systems. Observing exchange flow behavior in heterogeneous systems is a primary challenge, particularly when flows are governed by dynamic river stage or tidal variations. In this paper we demonstrate a novel application of time-lapse 3D electrical resistivity tomography and temperature monitoring where an array of thermistors installed beneath a riverbed double as resistivity electrodes. We use the array to monitor stage driven exchange flows over a 6-day period in a dynamic, stage-driven high order stream. We present a method for addressing the otherwise confounding effects of the moving river-surface boundary on the raw resistivity data, thereby enabling successful tomographic imaging. Temperature time-series at each thermistor location and time-lapse 3D images of changes in bulk electrical conductivity together provide a detailed description of exchange dynamics over a 10-meter by 45-meter section of the riverbed, to a depth of approximately 5 m. Results reveal highly variable flux behavior throughout the monitoring domain including both horizontal and vertical exchange flows.
Publication - Journal Article Riverbed Temperature and 4D ERT Monitoring Reveals Heterogenous Horizontal and Vertical Groundwater-Surface Water Exchange Flows Under Dynamic Stage Conditions
Frontiers in Earth Science, vol. 10, 2022
Tim Johnson, Jon Thomle, Chris Stickland, Amy Goldman, James Stegen