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01-04-2006 | Paper | Issue 4/2006

Hydrogeology Journal 4/2006

Occurrence of salt water above fresh water in dynamic equilibrium in a coastal groundwater flow system near De Panne, Belgium

Journal:
Hydrogeology Journal > Issue 4/2006
Authors:
A. Vandenbohede, L. Lebbe

Abstract

A salt water lens is found above fresh water under the shore between Dunkerque (France) and Nieuwpoort (Belgium). This inverse density distribution is in a dynamic equilibrium. It develops due to the infiltration of salt water on the back shore during high tide. Under this salt water lens, water infiltrated in the adjacent dune area flows towards the sea and discharges at the seabed. This water quality distribution differs from the classic salt water wedge under fresh water described in the literature. Here, the evolution to this water quality distribution is simulated with a density dependent numerical model. A large tidal range, shore morphology and a permeable groundwater reservoir are the main conditions for the observed water quality distribution. By altering these conditions, intermediate water quality distributions between the classic salt water wedge and the one discussed here develop. Based on these simulations, it is expected that similar kinds of inverse density distribution could be present in a number of coastal areas, which have tides, a gently sloping shore and a permeable substratum.

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