Physical Investigation of Field Scale Groundwater Recharge Processes in the Virginia Blue Ridge Physiographic Province
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In-situ analysis of matric potential and moisture content shows two distinctly different recharge processes that are spatially correlated with the structure of the shallow subsurface (regolith overlying the vertically oriented shear zone and regolith overlying the thrust fault hanging wall), and have been shown to have strong temporal correlations with the dynamics of the underlying saturated conditions.
Recharge flux estimates within the regolith overlying the thrust fault hanging wall are uncharacteristically high, and appear to be offset within the monitored region by the upward hydraulic gradient associated with the potentiometric surface of the underlying semi-confined aquifer. Because of the influence exerted by the upward hydraulic gradient on matric potential within the unsaturated regolith overlying the semi-confined aquifer, accurate recharge estimates could not be obtained from the matric potential data recorded by the tensiometers along this portion of the transect. Recharge flux within the regolith overlying the vertically oriented shear zone is strongly controlled by the orientation and aerial extent of the thrust fault shear zone, and highlights the importance of accurate delineation of recharge areas in crystalline rock aquifer systems.
- Masters Theses