DOI: 10.1190/tle42090598.1 ISSN:

Footprint of fresh submarine groundwater discharge in the Belgian coastal zone: An overview study

Marieke Paepen, Kristine Walraevens, Thomas Hermans
  • Geology
  • Geophysics

The presence of fresh groundwater is not limited to land; it also extends offshore and discharges as submarine groundwater discharge (SGD). The freshwater component of SGD (fresh submarine groundwater discharge [FSGD]) can be detected using geophysical techniques that are sensitive to salinity such as resistivity measurements. However, these measurements are often limited to either the land or marine realm, neglecting the land-marine interface. In this study, we focus on this gap by combining onshore and offshore techniques to assess variability in the FSGD footprint near the Belgian coastline through electrical resistivity tomography and continuous resistivity profiling. The difficult working conditions of the highly dynamic North Sea make this offshore survey one of the first of its kind. The footprint varies from limited outflow on the upper beach (e.g., Wenduine) to discharge around and below the low water line (e.g., De Panne, Oostduinkerke, and Knokke-Heist) in the studied areas. The occurrence, footprint, and quantity of SGD seem to be controlled by the presence and size of dune formations that constitute freshwater resources along the shore. Heterogeneity can also play a determining factor in FSGD location.

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