Bidirectional flow paths in alluvials floodplains

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Created: Aug 25, 2021 at 9:58 p.m.
Last updated: Jun 29, 2022 at 4:14 p.m.
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Bidirectional flow paths in alluvial floodplains are core components of shallow water transport and consequently understanding them is a core component of managing groundwater resources. At a clay wedge separating the riparian Brazos River water and bank storage from the inland shallow aquifers, we image a temporally dynamic sand throat of a buried crevasse splay using time-lapse electrical resistivity tomography collected over 61 days. At 12-13 days following heavy rainstorms, the cross-section of the relatively high electrical resistivity sand throat suddenly fades into the background resistivity, only to reappear the following day. Data appraisal checks on this relatively high electrical resistivity feature reveal that it is robust even after removing a third of the data, non-sensitive to small perturbations, and very repeatable during dry spells; forward modelling also revealed the effect of the inversion smoothing process on the imaging of the subsurface and allowed for a better interpretation. This research shows that buried sand-dominated crevasse splays, particularly their throats that originally cut through the banks, act as a preferential flow path of water between the floodplain and the river, and particularly that this flow path can transport water in both directions: it can transport rainwater infiltration from the floodplain and into the river as a spring, and it can also transport surging, high-stage river water from the river and into a local shallow aquifer in spite of the clay wedge’s low hydraulic conductivity. This research therefore has implications for where and how inland chemicals in a floodplain (e.g. agricultural fertilizers) can reach the river as well as for where and how chemicals in a river can infiltrate through the clay wedge (i.e. past bank storage) and into local shallow aquifers.

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Coordinate System/Geographic Projection:
WGS 84 EPSG:4326
Coordinate Units:
Decimal degrees
Place/Area Name:
Texas A&M University Research Farm


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Related Resources

The content of this resource is derived from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The content of this resource is derived from United States Geological Survey


Funding Agencies

This resource was created using funding from the following sources:
Agency Name Award Title Award Number
United States Geological Survey 104B State Water Resources Research Institute Program 06-505264-01007-M1903160

How to Cite

Martin, J. M. (2022). Bidirectional flow paths in alluvials floodplains, HydroShare,

This resource is shared under the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY.


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