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New Publication: Convergence of groundwater discharge through the hyporheic zone of streams

Mojarrad, B.B., Wörman, A., Riml, J., Xu, S., 2022.

Significant attention has been given to hyporheic water fluxes induced by hydromorphologic processes in streambeds and the effects they have on stream ecology. However, the impact of hyporheic fluxes on regional groundwater flow discharge zones as well as the interaction of these flows are much less investigated. The groundwater-hyporheic interactive flow not only governs solute mass and heat transport in streams but also controls the retention of solute and contamination following the discharge of deep groundwater, such as naturally occurring solutes and leakage from geological waste disposal facilities. Here, we applied a physically based modeling approach combined with extensive hydrologic, geologic and geographical data to investigate the effect of hyporheic flow on groundwater discharge in the Krycklan catchment, located in a boreal landscape in Sweden. Regional groundwater modeling was conducted using COMSOL Multiphysics by considering geologic heterogeneity and infiltration constraint of the groundwater circulation intensity. Moreover, the hyporheic flow was analyzed using an exact spectral solution accounting for the fluctuating streambed topography and superimposed with the regional groundwater flow. By comparing the discharge flow fields with and without consideration of hyporheic flows, we found that the divergence of the discharge was substantially enhanced and the distribution of the travel times of groundwater was significantly shifted toward shorter times due to the presence of hyporheic flow. Particularly important is that the groundwater flow paths contract near the streambed interface due to the hyporheic flow, which leads to a phenomenon that we name “fragmentation” of coherent areas of groundwater upwelling in pinhole-shaped stream tubes.

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