Terrestrial groundwater and nutrient discharge along the 240-km-long Aquitanian coast

Research areas:
Submarine groundwater discharge
  • Pierre Anschutz
  • Céline Charbonnier
  • Jonathan Deborde
  • Loris Deirmendjian
  • Dominique Poirier
  • Aurélia Mouret
  • Damien Buquet
  • Pascal Lecroart
Marine Chemistry
38 - 47
13th International Estuarine Biogeochemistry Symposium (IEBS) - Estuaries Under Anthropogenic Pressure
Abstract We collected samples from sea water, runnel water, beach pore waters, water from the unconfined surficial aquifer discharging at the beach face, groundwater, and rainwater from the Aquitanian coast in order to determine the flux of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN), phosphorus and silica from terrestrial submarine groundwater discharge (SGD). The flux of fresh groundwater was obtained from a water balance calculation based on precipitation and evapotranspiration and assessment of the coastal watershed from hydrograph separation. Waters with intermediate salinities between sea water and freshwaters are found all along the 240-km-long coast, indicating that \{SGD\} is ubiquitous. The estimated fresh water flux is 2.25 m3 d− 1 m− 1 longshore. Terrestrial \{SGD\} provides a \{DIN\} flux of 9·106 mol each year to the adjacent coastal zone. This flux is about four times lower than the release of \{DIN\} due to tidally driven saline SGD. The freshwater \{DIN\} flux is low because the upland land use consists almost exclusively of pine forest. Dissolved organic nitrogen represents more than 60% of the total dissolved nitrogen flux. Dissolved iron, phosphorus and silica have much higher concentrations in the anoxic forest aquifer than in the fresh-water end-member of the subterranean estuary sampled in the upper beach aquifer. This suggests that the salinity gradient of the estuary does not correspond to a redox gradient. The redox front between anoxic groundwater and fresh oxic waters occurs below the soil-depleted foredune/yellow dune. Anoxic P- and Si-rich waters seep directly on the beach face only in the north Gironde, where the foredunes are eroded. This study reveals the role of the sandy foredune aquifer in biogeochemical fluxes from SGD, which is to dilute and oxidize waters from the unconfined surficial upland aquifer.