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Nutrient fluxes associated wth submarine groundwater discharge from karstic coastal aquifers (Côte Bleue, French Mediterranean Coastline)

Abstract : Determination of submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) from karstic coastal aquifers is important to constrain hydrological and biogeochemical cycles. However, SGD quantification using commonly employed geochemical methods can be difficult to constrain under the presence of large riverine inputs, and is further complicated by the determination of the karstic groundwater endmember. Here, we investigated a coastal region where groundwater discharges from a karstic aquifer system using airborne thermal infrared mapping and geochemical sampling conducted along offshore transects. We report radium data (223 Ra, 224 Ra, 228 Ra) that we used to derive fluxes (water, nutrients) associated with terrestrial groundwater discharge and/or seawater circulation through the nearshore permeable sediments and coastal aquifer. Field work was conducted at different periods of the year to study the temporal variability of the chemical fluxes. Offshore transects of 223 Ra and 224 Ra were used to derive horizontal eddy diffusivity coefficients that were subsequently combined with surface water nutrient gradients (NO 2 − + NO 3 − , DSi) to determine the net nutrient fluxes from SGD. The estimated DSi and (NO 2 − + NO 3 −) fluxes are 6.2 ± 5.0 * 10 3 and 4.0 ± 2.0 * 10 3 mol d −1 per km of coastline, respectively. We attempted to further constrain these SGD fluxes by combining horizontal eddy diffusivity and 228 Ra gradients. However, SGD endmember selection in this area (terrestrial groundwater discharge vs. porewater) adds further uncertainty to the flux calculation and thus prevented us from calculating a reliable flux using this latter method. Additionally, the relatively long half-life of 228 Ra (5.75 y) makes it sensitive to specific circulation patterns in this coastal region, including sporadic intrusions of Rhône river waters that impact both the 228 Ra and nutrient surface water distributions. We show that SGD nutrient fluxes locally reach up to 20 times the nutrient fluxes from a small river (Huveaune River). On a regional
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Simon Bejannin, Joseph Tamborski, Pieter van Beek, Marc Souhaut, Thomas Stieglitz, et al.. Nutrient fluxes associated wth submarine groundwater discharge from karstic coastal aquifers (Côte Bleue, French Mediterranean Coastline). Frontiers in Environmental Science, Frontiers, 2020, 7, ⟨10.3389/fenvs.2019.00205⟩. ⟨ird-02483073⟩

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