Characterization of Carbonate Hydrostratigraphy Using Ambient Seismic Noise: A Pilot Study in the Floridan Aquifer System, Ocala, FL, USA

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Stephanie James, Elizabeth Screaton, Raymond M Russo, Mark P Panning, Paul M Bremner, Adrian C Stanciu, Megan E Torpey, Sutatcha Hongsresawat and Matthew Elvin Farrell, Univ of FL-Geological Sciences, Gainesville, FL, United States
Defining zones of high and low hydraulic conductivity within aquifers is vital to hydrogeologic research and groundwater management. Carbonate aquifers are particularly difficult to characterize due to dissolution and dolomitization. We investigated a new imaging technique for aquifer characterization that uses cross-correlation of ambient seismic noise to determine seismic velocity structure. Differences in densities between confining units and high permeability flow zones can produce distinct seismic velocities in the correlated signals. We deployed an array of 9 short period geophones from 11/2013 to 3/2014 in Indian Lake State Forest, Florida, to determine if the high frequency diffusive seismic wavefield can be used for imaging hydrostratigraphy. Here, a thin surficial layer of siliciclastic deposits overlie a ~ 0.6 km sequence of Cenozoic limestone and dolomite units that comprise the Floridan Aquifer System (FAS). A low permeability dolomite unit vertically divides the FAS throughout most of Florida. Deep boreholes surrounding the site constrain hydrostratigraphy, however the horizontal continuity of the middle dolomite unit as well as its effectiveness as a confining unit in the study area are not well known. The stations were spaced at distances ranging from 0.18 to 2.6 km, and yielded 72 cross-correlation Green’s functions for Rayleigh wave propagation at frequencies between 0.2 and 40 Hz, with dominant peaks around 0.8 Hz, 3 Hz and 13 Hz. Local vehicle traffic did interfere to a degree with the correlation of the diffuse waves, but was minimized by using only nighttime data. At the lowest frequencies (greatest depths) investigated, velocities increase with depth; however, correlations become less coherent at higher frequencies, perhaps due to shallow complex scattering. Comparison of cross-correlations for all station pairs also indicates spatial variations in velocity. Thus, the method shows promise for characterization of the heterogeneity of the Floridan Aquifer System.