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Volume 22, issue 7 | Copyright
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 3825-3839, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 18 Jul 2018

Research article | 18 Jul 2018

Estimating epikarst water storage by time-lapse surface-to-depth gravity measurements

Cédric Champollion1, Sabrina Deville1, Jean Chéry1, Erik Doerflinger1, Nicolas Le Moigne1, Roger Bayer1, Philippe Vernant1, and Naomi Mazzilli2 Cédric Champollion et al.
  • 1Géosciences Montpellier, CNRS, Univ. Montpellier, UA, Montpellier, France
  • 2UMR 1114 EMMAH (UAPV/INRA), Université d'Avignon et des Pays de Vaucluse, Avignon, France

Abstract. The magnitude of epikarstic water storage variation is evaluated in various karst settings using a relative spring gravimeter. Gravity measurements are performed over a 1.5-year period at the surface and inside caves at different depths on three karst hydro-systems in southern France: two limestone karst systems and one dolomite karst system. We find that significant water storage variations occur in the first 10m of karst unsaturated zone. The subsurface water storage is also evidenced by complementary magnetic resonance sounding. The comparison between sites of the depth gravity measurements with respect to net water inflow suggests that seasonal water storage depends on the lithology. The transmissive function of the epikarst on the seasonal scale has been deduced from the water storage change estimation. Long (>6 months) and short (<6 months) transfer times are revealed in the dolomite and in the limestone respectively.

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Short summary
Gravity monitoring at the surface and in situ (in caves) has been conducted in a karst hydro-system in the south of France (Larzac plateau). Subsurface water storage is evidenced with a spatial variability probably associated with lithology differences and confirmed by MRS measurements. Gravity allows transient water storage to be estimated on the seasonal scale.
Gravity monitoring at the surface and in situ (in caves) has been conducted in a karst...