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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 29 Jan 2019

Research article | 29 Jan 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Hydrogeological conceptual model of andesitic watersheds revealed by high-resolution geophysics

Benoit Vittecoq1,2, Pierre-Alexandre Reninger3, Frédéric Lacquement3, Guillaume Martelet3, and Sophie Violette2,4 Benoit Vittecoq et al.
  • 1BRGM, 97200 Fort de France, Martinique
  • 2ENS-PSL Research University & CNRS, UMR.8538 – Laboratoire de Géologie, 24 rue Lhomond, 75231 Paris France
  • 3BRGM, F-45060 Orléans, France
  • 4Sorbonne Université, UFR.918, F75005, Paris France

Abstract. We conducted a multidisciplinary study at the watershed scale of an andesitic-type volcanic island in order to better characterize the hydrogeological functioning of aquifers and to better evaluate groundwater resource. A helicopter-borne TDEM survey was conducted in 2013 over Martinique Island in order to investigate underground volcanic structures and lithology, characterized by high lateral and vertical variability, and resulting in a very high heterogeneity of their hydrogeological characteristics. Correlations were made on three adjacent watersheds between resistivity data along flight lines and geological and hydrogeological data from 51 boreholes and 24 springs, showing that the younger the formations, the higher their resistivity. Correlation between resistivity, geology and transmissivity data of three aquifers is attested: the older the formation, the lower its resistivity, and the higher its transmissivity. Moreover, we demonstrate that the main geological structures lead to preferential flow circulations and that hydrogeological watershed can differ from topographical watershed. The consequence is that even if the topographical watershed is small, underground flow circulations can add significant amount of water to river watershed’s water balance. This effect is amplified when lava domes and their roots are situated upstream, as they present very high hydraulic conductivity leading to deep preferential groundwater flow circulations. We also reveal, unlike basaltic-type volcanic islands, that hydraulic conductivity increases with age in this andesitic-type volcanic island. This trend is interpreted as the consequence of tectonic fracturing associated to earthquakes in subduction zones associated to andesitic volcanic islands. Finally, our approach allows characterizing in detail the hydrogeological functioning and identifying the properties of the main aquifer and aquitard units, leading to the proposition of a hydrogeological conceptual model at the watershed scale. This working scale seems particularly suitable due to the complexity of edifices, with heterogeneous geological formations presenting high lateral and vertical variability. Moreover, our study offers new guidelines for accurate correlations between resistivity, geology and hydraulic conductivity for volcanic islands. Finally, our results will also help stakeholders toward a better management of water resource.

Benoit Vittecoq et al.
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Benoit Vittecoq et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Water resources management on volcanic islands is challenging and faces several issues. Taking the advantage of new airborne geophysical technology, correlated with boreholes and springs data, we develop a watershed scale conceptual model and demonstrate that permeability increase with age for the studied formations. Moreover, complex geological structures lead to preferential flow circulations and to discrepancy between topographical and hydrogeological watershed, influencing rivers flowrates.
Water resources management on volcanic islands is challenging and faces several issues. Taking...