NMR Imaging of Fluid Exchange between Macropores and Matrix in Eogenetic Karst
Article first published online: 16 DEC 2008
Journal compilation © 2008 National Ground Water Association. No claim to original US government works
Volume 47, Issue 3, pages 382–390, May - June 2009
How to Cite
Florea, L. J., Cunningham, K. J. and Altobelli, S. (2009), NMR Imaging of Fluid Exchange between Macropores and Matrix in Eogenetic Karst. Groundwater, 47: 382–390. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6584.2008.00526.x
- Issue published online: 27 APR 2009
- Article first published online: 16 DEC 2008
- Received March 2008, accepted October 2008.
Sequential time-step images acquired using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) show the displacement of deuterated water (D2O) by fresh water within two limestone samples characterized by a porous and permeable limestone matrix of peloids and ooids. These samples were selected because they have a macropore system representative of some parts of the eogenetic karst limestone of the Biscayne Aquifer in southeastern Florida. The macroporosity, created by the trace fossil Ophiomorpha, is principally well connected and of centimeter scale. These macropores occur in broadly continuous stratiform zones that create preferential flow layers within the hydrogeologic units of the Biscayne. This arrangement of porosity is important because in coastal areas, it could produce a preferential pathway for salt water intrusion. Two experiments were conducted in which samples saturated with D2O were placed in acrylic chambers filled with fresh water and examined with NMR. Results reveal a substantial flux of fresh water into the matrix porosity with a simultaneous loss of D2O. Specifically, we measured rates upward of 0.001 mL/h/g of sample in static conditions, and perhaps as great as 0.07 mL/h/g of sample when fresh water continuously flows past a sample at velocities less than those found within stressed areas of the Biscayne. These experiments illustrate how fresh water and D2O, with different chemical properties, migrate within one type of matrix porosity found in the Biscayne. Furthermore, these experiments are a comparative exercise in the displacement of sea water by fresh water in the matrix of a coastal, karst aquifer since D2O has a greater density than fresh water.