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Role of Reef-Flat Plate on the Hydrogeology of an Atoll Island: Example of Rangiroa

Abstract : On atoll islands, the fresh water lens (FWL) constitutes, for the island population, a very important fresh water resource for various usages. Its shape and thickness highly depend on the underground characteristics of several rock formations which constitute the underground of the island: upper Holocene sediments and lower Pleistocene limestone rocks separated by the Holocene Pleistocene Unconformity. In this study, several very simple investigation methods were applied on the Pacific atoll of Rangiroa in order to characterize the aquifer hydrodynamics and their impact on the FWL. A water budget of the aquifer was proposed, including the deep infiltration to the FWL. Pumping tests and tidal analysis demonstrated the confined character of the aquifer and its main hydrodynamic properties (storage and hydraulic conductivity). The role of the reef-flat plate on the hydrogeology of the atoll was highlighted. Its impermeable nature contributes to reduce the deep infiltration to the aquifer. It also contributes to the confined flow regime of the aquifer, inducing high and fast water level fluctuations due to tide forces, and consequently contributes to increase the thickness of the saline mixing zone. Both phenomena contribute to reduce the thickness of the FWL, which is only 2 m-thick in that atoll.
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Soumis le : vendredi 2 septembre 2022 - 10:37:47
Dernière modification le : mardi 6 septembre 2022 - 03:38:33

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Jean-Christophe Maréchal, Vivien Hakoun, Pauline Corbier. Role of Reef-Flat Plate on the Hydrogeology of an Atoll Island: Example of Rangiroa. Water, MDPI, 2022, 14 (17), pp.2695. ⟨10.3390/w14172695⟩. ⟨hal-03767701⟩

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