One-dimensional analytical solution for hydraulic head and numerical solution for solute transport through a horizontal fracture for submarine groundwater discharge

Cairong He, Tongke Wang, Zhixue Zhao, Yonghong Hao, Tian-Chyi J Yeh, Hongbin Zhan

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2 Scopus citations


Submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) has been recognized as a major pathway of groundwater flow to coastal oceanic environments. It could affect water quality and marine ecosystems due to pollutants and trace elements transported through groundwater. Relations between different characteristics of aquifers and SGD have been investigated extensively before, but the role of fractures in SGD still remains unknown. In order to better understand the mechanism of groundwater flow and solute transport through fractures in SGD, one-dimensional analytical solutions of groundwater hydraulic head and velocity through a synthetic horizontal fracture with periodic boundary conditions were derived using a Laplace transform technique. Then, numerical solutions of solute transport associated with the given groundwater velocity were developed using a finite-difference method. The results indicated that SGD associated with groundwater flow and solute transport was mainly controlled by sea level periodic fluctuations, which altered the hydraulic head and the hydraulic head gradient in the fracture. As a result, the velocity of groundwater flow associated with SGD also fluctuated periodically. We found that the pollutant concentration associated with SGD oscillated around a constant value, and could not reach a steady state. This was particularly true at locations close to the seashore. This finding of the role of fracture in SGD will assist pollution remediation and marine conservation in coastal regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Contaminant Hydrology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2017



  • Finite difference method
  • Fracture
  • Laplace transform
  • Sea level fluctuation
  • Solute transport
  • Submarine groundwater discharge (SGD)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology

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