Considering heterogeneity in porous media pore size and connectivity is essential to predicting reactive solute transport across interfaces. However, exchange with less‐mobile porosity is rarely considered in surface water/groundwater recharge studies. Previous research indicates that a combination of pore‐fluid sampling and geoelectrical measurements can be used to quantify less‐mobile porosity exchange dynamics using the time‐varying relation between fluid and bulk electrical conductivity. For this study, we use macro‐scale (10 s of cm) advection–dispersion solute transport models linked with electrical conduction in COMSOL Multiphysics to explore less‐mobile porosity dynamics in two different types of observed sediment water interface porous media. Modeled sediment textures contrast from strongly layered streambed deposits to poorly sorted lakebed sands and cobbles. During simulated ionic tracer perturbations, a lag between fluid and bulk electrical conductivity, and the resultant hysteresis, is observed for all simulations indicating differential loading of pore spaces with tracer. Less‐mobile exchange parameters are determined graphically from these tracer time series data without the need for inverse numerical model simulation. In both sediment types, effective less‐mobile porosity exchange parameters are variable in response to changes in flow direction and fluid flux. These observed flow‐dependent effects directly impact local less‐mobile residence times and associated contact time for biogeochemical reaction. The simulations indicate that for the sediment textures explored here, less‐mobile porosity exchange is dominated by variable rates of advection through the domain, rather than diffusion of solute, for typical low‐to‐moderate rate (approximately 3–40 cm/day) hyporheic fluid fluxes. Overall, our model‐based results show that less‐mobile porosity may be expected in a range of natural hyporheic sediments and that changes in flowpath orientation and magnitude will impact less‐mobile exchange parameters. These temporal dynamics can be assessed with the geoelectrical experimental tracer method applied at laboratory and field scales.
Hyporheic exchange is a crucial control of the type and rates of streambed biogeochemical processes, including metabolism, respiration, nutrient turnover, and the transformation of pollutants. Previous work has shown that increasing discharge during an individual peak flow event strengthens biogeochemical turnover by enhancing the exchange of water and dissolved solutes. However, due to the nonsteady nature of the exchange process, successive peak flow events do not exhibit proportional variations in residence time and turnover, and in some cases, can reduce the hyporheic zones' biogeochemical potential. Here, we used a process‐based model to explore the role of successive peak flow events on the flow and transport characteristics of bedform‐induced hyporheic exchange. We conducted a systematic analysis of the impacts of the events' magnitude, duration, and time between peaks in the hyporheic zone's fluxes, penetration, and residence times. The relative contribution of each event to the transport of solutes across the sediment‐water interface was inferred from transport simulations of a conservative solute. In addition to temporal variations in the hyporheic flow field, our results demonstrate that the separation between two events determines the temporal evolution of residence time and that event time lags longer than the memory of the system result in successive events that can be treated independently. This study highlights the importance of discharge variability in the dynamics of hyporheic exchange and its potential implications for biogeochemical transformations and fate of contaminants along river corridors.more » « less
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- DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
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- Water Resources Research
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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