Numerical Study of a Groundwater Flow Cycling Controlled By Seawater Intrusion within Karst Conduit Networks Using Modflow-CFP

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Zexuan Xu1, Bill X. Hu1 and Hal Davis2, (1)Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, United States, (2)USGS Florida Water Science Center Tallahassee, Tallahassee, FL, United States
A groundwater flow cycling process between a submarine spring and an inland fresh water spring has been simulated using the latest research version of MODFLOW-CFP (Conduit Flow Process). Spring Creek Springs and Wakulla Spring, which are located in a marine estuary and 18 km inland, respectively, are two major groundwater discharge spots of Woodville Karst Plain (WKP), North Florida, USA. The two springs are found to be connected with karst conduits networks. Rising sea level may put seawater into the Spring Creek Springs and block groundwater discharge, which, in turn, increases freshwater discharge at Wakulla Spring. Three repeating phases in a karst spring flow cycle were proposed from low rainfall period to heavy rainfall period, and back to low rainfall period. During low rainfall periods, seawater flowed back into the conduits at Spring Creek Spring and freshwater was diverted to Wakulla Spring. After heavy rainfall, seawater was pushed back from Spring Creek Spring conduits. 

A MODFLOW model for WKP was modified to numerically study the groundwater flow cycling and seawater intrusion for three years. Conduit network distribution, high speed groundwater flow and exchange between conduits and matrix domain were simulated through the MODFLOW-CFP model. Rainfall, springs and creeks discharge data were used to calibrate the model. Simulation results catch very well with measurements, and numerically presented the three-phase groundwater cycling. In additional, simulation results were also supported by temperature data measured in conduits, which reflect precipitation recharge to groundwater, and indicate conduit flow direction.

Key Words: Karst, Seawater Instrusion, MODFLOW-CFP, Groundwater Cycling