Lithologic influences on groundwater recharge through incised glacial till from profile to regional scales: Evidence from glaciated Eastern Nebraska

John B. Gates, Gregory V. Steele, Paolo Nasta, J. Szilagyi

Research output: Article

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Variability in sediment hydraulic properties associated with landscape depositional and erosional features can influence groundwater recharge processes by affecting soil-water storage and transmission. This study considers recharge to aquifers underlying river-incised glaciated terrain where the distribution of clay-rich till is largely intact in upland locations but has been removed by alluvial erosion in stream valleys. In a stream-dissected glacial region in eastern Nebraska (Great Plains region of the United States), recharge estimates were developed for nested profile, aquifer, and regional scales using unsaturated zone profile measurements (matric potentials, Cl- and 3H), groundwater tracers (CFC-12 and SF6), and a remote sensing-assisted water balance model. Results show a consistent influence of till lithology on recharge rates across nested spatial scales despite substantial uncertainty in all recharge estimation methods, suggesting that minimal diffuse recharge occurs through upland glacial till lithology whereas diffuse recharge occurs in river valleys where till is locally absent. Diffuse recharge is estimated to account for a maximum of 61% of total recharge based on comparison of diffuse recharge estimated from the unsaturated zone (0-43 mm yr-1) and total recharge estimated from groundwater tracers (median 58 mm yr-1) and water balance modeling (median 56 mm yr -1). The results underscore the importance of lithologic controls on the distributions of both recharge rates and mechanisms. Key Points Recharge rates sensitive to lithologic distributions Minimal diffuse recharge through glacial till-covered uplands Spatial distributions consistent across scales

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)466-481
Number of pages16
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume50
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - jan. 2014

Fingerprint

recharge
groundwater
vadose zone
water budget
lithology
tracer
aquifer
valley
matric potential
CFC
hydraulic property
estimation method
water storage
river
till
soil water
spatial distribution
remote sensing
erosion
clay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology

Cite this

@article{11187106dc564e66949887493b76fb12,
title = "Lithologic influences on groundwater recharge through incised glacial till from profile to regional scales: Evidence from glaciated Eastern Nebraska",
abstract = "Variability in sediment hydraulic properties associated with landscape depositional and erosional features can influence groundwater recharge processes by affecting soil-water storage and transmission. This study considers recharge to aquifers underlying river-incised glaciated terrain where the distribution of clay-rich till is largely intact in upland locations but has been removed by alluvial erosion in stream valleys. In a stream-dissected glacial region in eastern Nebraska (Great Plains region of the United States), recharge estimates were developed for nested profile, aquifer, and regional scales using unsaturated zone profile measurements (matric potentials, Cl- and 3H), groundwater tracers (CFC-12 and SF6), and a remote sensing-assisted water balance model. Results show a consistent influence of till lithology on recharge rates across nested spatial scales despite substantial uncertainty in all recharge estimation methods, suggesting that minimal diffuse recharge occurs through upland glacial till lithology whereas diffuse recharge occurs in river valleys where till is locally absent. Diffuse recharge is estimated to account for a maximum of 61{\%} of total recharge based on comparison of diffuse recharge estimated from the unsaturated zone (0-43 mm yr-1) and total recharge estimated from groundwater tracers (median 58 mm yr-1) and water balance modeling (median 56 mm yr -1). The results underscore the importance of lithologic controls on the distributions of both recharge rates and mechanisms. Key Points Recharge rates sensitive to lithologic distributions Minimal diffuse recharge through glacial till-covered uplands Spatial distributions consistent across scales",
keywords = "environmental tracers, groundwater, recharge, till",
author = "Gates, {John B.} and Steele, {Gregory V.} and Paolo Nasta and J. Szilagyi",
year = "2014",
month = "1",
doi = "10.1002/2013WR014073",
language = "English",
volume = "50",
pages = "466--481",
journal = "Water Resources Research",
issn = "0043-1397",
publisher = "American Geophysical Union",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Lithologic influences on groundwater recharge through incised glacial till from profile to regional scales

T2 - Evidence from glaciated Eastern Nebraska

AU - Gates, John B.

AU - Steele, Gregory V.

AU - Nasta, Paolo

AU - Szilagyi, J.

PY - 2014/1

Y1 - 2014/1

N2 - Variability in sediment hydraulic properties associated with landscape depositional and erosional features can influence groundwater recharge processes by affecting soil-water storage and transmission. This study considers recharge to aquifers underlying river-incised glaciated terrain where the distribution of clay-rich till is largely intact in upland locations but has been removed by alluvial erosion in stream valleys. In a stream-dissected glacial region in eastern Nebraska (Great Plains region of the United States), recharge estimates were developed for nested profile, aquifer, and regional scales using unsaturated zone profile measurements (matric potentials, Cl- and 3H), groundwater tracers (CFC-12 and SF6), and a remote sensing-assisted water balance model. Results show a consistent influence of till lithology on recharge rates across nested spatial scales despite substantial uncertainty in all recharge estimation methods, suggesting that minimal diffuse recharge occurs through upland glacial till lithology whereas diffuse recharge occurs in river valleys where till is locally absent. Diffuse recharge is estimated to account for a maximum of 61% of total recharge based on comparison of diffuse recharge estimated from the unsaturated zone (0-43 mm yr-1) and total recharge estimated from groundwater tracers (median 58 mm yr-1) and water balance modeling (median 56 mm yr -1). The results underscore the importance of lithologic controls on the distributions of both recharge rates and mechanisms. Key Points Recharge rates sensitive to lithologic distributions Minimal diffuse recharge through glacial till-covered uplands Spatial distributions consistent across scales

AB - Variability in sediment hydraulic properties associated with landscape depositional and erosional features can influence groundwater recharge processes by affecting soil-water storage and transmission. This study considers recharge to aquifers underlying river-incised glaciated terrain where the distribution of clay-rich till is largely intact in upland locations but has been removed by alluvial erosion in stream valleys. In a stream-dissected glacial region in eastern Nebraska (Great Plains region of the United States), recharge estimates were developed for nested profile, aquifer, and regional scales using unsaturated zone profile measurements (matric potentials, Cl- and 3H), groundwater tracers (CFC-12 and SF6), and a remote sensing-assisted water balance model. Results show a consistent influence of till lithology on recharge rates across nested spatial scales despite substantial uncertainty in all recharge estimation methods, suggesting that minimal diffuse recharge occurs through upland glacial till lithology whereas diffuse recharge occurs in river valleys where till is locally absent. Diffuse recharge is estimated to account for a maximum of 61% of total recharge based on comparison of diffuse recharge estimated from the unsaturated zone (0-43 mm yr-1) and total recharge estimated from groundwater tracers (median 58 mm yr-1) and water balance modeling (median 56 mm yr -1). The results underscore the importance of lithologic controls on the distributions of both recharge rates and mechanisms. Key Points Recharge rates sensitive to lithologic distributions Minimal diffuse recharge through glacial till-covered uplands Spatial distributions consistent across scales

KW - environmental tracers

KW - groundwater

KW - recharge

KW - till

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84896715323&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84896715323&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1002/2013WR014073

DO - 10.1002/2013WR014073

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84896715323

VL - 50

SP - 466

EP - 481

JO - Water Resources Research

JF - Water Resources Research

SN - 0043-1397

IS - 1

ER -