The Role of Overwash in the Evolution of Mixing Zone Morphology Within Barrier Islands

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
William Anderson Ph.D., Professor and Chair: Hydrogeology (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: Overwash is a major controlling factor in the morphology of the mixing zone of coastal aquifers. Conceptual models of the mixing zone describe an interface controlled by tidal oscillations, wave run-up, and other factors; however, few describe the influence of large storm events. In August 1993, Hatteras Island, North Carolina, USA, experienced a 3-m storm surge due to Hurricane Emily. Sound-side flooding infiltrated a wellfield, causing a dramatic increase in TDS levels that persisted for more than 3 years. Two-dimensional simulations with SUTRA, the USGS finite-element model, are calibrated to the TDS breakthrough data of this storm to infer model dispersivity values. Simulations using the calibrated dispersivity values, predicted flooding levels, and 54 years of hurricane records to determine the influence of the overwash events suggest that it is rare for the mixing zone to approximate the conceptual morphology. Even during quiescent periods such as between 1965 and 1975, TDS levels do not return to theoretical levels before being elevated by a subsequent storm event. Thus, while tidal oscillations and other factors are important to mixing zone development, basic wind events and more severe storm events may have more influence and lasting effect on the morphology of the mixing zone.

Additional Information

Anderson, William P., Jr. Lauer, Rachel M. *(2008) HYDROGEOLOGY JOURNAL. The Role of Overwash in the Evolution of Mixing Zone Morphology Within Barrier Islands. DOI: 10.1007/s10040-008-0340-z. ISSN: 1431-2174
Language: English
Date: 2008
Coastal aquifers, Overwash, Salt-water, Fresh-water Interface, Numerical Modelling, USA, FRESH-WATER, GROUNDWATER-FLOW, AQUIFER, ESTUARY, SYSTEM

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