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A partially coupled hydro-mechanical analysis of the Bengal Aquifer System under hydrological loading

Woodman, ND; Burgess, W; AHMED, KM; Zahid, A; (2019) A partially coupled hydro-mechanical analysis of the Bengal Aquifer System under hydrological loading. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences , 23 pp. 2461-2479. 10.5194/hess-23-2461-2019. Green open access

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Abstract

The coupled poro-mechanical behaviour of geologic-fluid systems is fundamental to numerous processes in structural geology, seismology, and geotechnics, but is frequently overlooked in hydrogeology. Substantial poro-mechanical influences on groundwater head have recently been highlighted in the Bengal Aquifer System, however, driven by terrestrial water loading across the Ganges–Brahmaputra–Meghna floodplains. Groundwater management in this strategically important fluvio-deltaic aquifer, the largest in southern Asia, requires a coupled hydro-mechanical approach which acknowledges poroelasticity. We present a simple partially coupled, 1-D poroelastic model of the Bengal Aquifer System, and explore the poro-mechanical responses of the aquifer to surface boundary conditions representing hydraulic head and mechanical load under three modes of terrestrial water variation. The characteristic responses, shown as amplitude and phase of hydraulic head in depth profile and of ground surface deflection, demonstrate (i) the limits to using water levels in piezometers to indicate groundwater recharge, as conventionally applied in groundwater resources management; (ii) the conditions under which piezometer water levels respond primarily to changes in the mass of terrestrial water storage, as applied in geological weighing lysimetry; (iii) the relationship of ground surface vertical deflection with changes in groundwater storage; and (iv) errors of attribution that could result from ignoring the poroelastic behaviour of the aquifer. These concepts are illustrated through application of the partially coupled model to interpret multi-level piezometer data at two sites in southern Bangladesh. There is a need for further research into the coupled responses of the aquifer due to more complex forms of surface loading, particularly from rivers.

Type: Article
Title: A partially coupled hydro-mechanical analysis of the Bengal Aquifer System under hydrological loading
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.5194/hess-23-2461-2019
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-23-2461-2019
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Earth Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10075989
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