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Geophysical Mapping of Saltwater Intrusion in Everglades National Park

David V. Fitterman and Maria Deszcz-Pan

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The mapping of saltwater intrusion in coastal aquifers has traditionally relied upon observation wells and collection of water samples. This approach may miss important hydrologic features related to saltwater intrusion in areas where access is difficult and wells are widely spaced, such as the Everglades. To map saltwater intrusion in Everglades National Park, a different approach has been used. We have relied heavily on helicopter electromagnetic (HEM) measurements to map lateral variations of electrical resistivity, which are directly related to water quality. The HEM data are inverted to provide a three-dimensional resistivity model of the subsurface. Borehole geophysical and water quality measurements made in a selected set of observations wells are used to determine the relation between formation resistivity and specific conductance of pore water. Applying this relation to the 3-D HEM resistivity model produces an estimated water-quality model. This model provides constraints for variable density, ground-water models of the area. Time-domain electromagnetic (TEM) soundings have also be used to map saltwater intrusion. Because of the high density of HEM sampling (a measurement point every 10 meters along flight lines) models with a cell size of 100 meters on a side are possible, revealing features which could not be recognized from either the TEM or the observation wells alone. The very detailed resistivity maps show the extent of saltwater intrusion and the effect of former and present canals and roadbeds. The HEM survey provides a means of quickly obtaining a synoptic picture of saltwater intrusion, which also serves as a baseline for monitoring the effects of Everglades restoration activities.

This Paper: Fitterman, D.V., and Deszcz-Pan, M., 1999, Geophysical mapping of saltwater intrusion in Everglades National Park (on CD-ROM), in 3rd International Symposium on Ecohydraulics, Salt Lake City, Utah, 12-16 July 1999, p. 18 (on CD-ROM).

Related information:

SOFIA Project: Geophysical Studies of the Southwest Florida Coast

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