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Understanding the Geodetic Signature of Large Aquifer Systems: Example of the Ozark Plateaus in Central United States

Larochelle, Stacy and Chanard, Kristel and Fleitout, Luce and Fortin, Jérôme and Gualandi, Adriano and Longuevergne, Laurent and Rebischung, Paul and Violette, Sophie and Avouac, Jean-Philippe (2022) Understanding the Geodetic Signature of Large Aquifer Systems: Example of the Ozark Plateaus in Central United States. Journal of Geophysical Research. Solid Earth, 127 (3). Art. No. e2021JB023097. ISSN 2169-9313. doi:10.1029/2021JB023097.

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The continuous redistribution of water involved in the hydrologic cycle leads to deformation of the solid Earth. On a global scale, this deformation is well explained by the loading imposed by hydrological mass variations and can be quantified to first order with space-based gravimetric and geodetic measurements. At the regional scale, however, aquifer systems also undergo poroelastic deformation in response to groundwater fluctuations. Disentangling these related but distinct 3D deformation fields from geodetic time series is essential to accurately invert for changes in continental water mass, to understand the mechanical response of aquifers to internal pressure changes as well as to correct time series for these known effects. Here, we demonstrate a methodology to accomplish this task by considering the example of the well-instrumented Ozark Plateaus Aquifer System (OPAS) in the central United States. We begin by characterizing the most important sources of groundwater level variations in the spatially heterogeneous piezometer dataset using an Independent Component Analysis. Then, to estimate the associated poroelastic displacements, we project geodetic time series corrected for hydrological loading effects onto the dominant groundwater temporal functions. We interpret the extracted displacements in light of analytical solutions and a 2D model relating groundwater level variations to surface displacements. In particular, the relatively low estimates of elastic moduli inferred from the poroelastic displacements and groundwater fluctuations may be indicative of aquifer layers with a high fracture density. Our findings suggest that OPAS undergoes significant poroelastic deformation, including highly heterogeneous horizontal poroelastic displacements.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
https://waterservices.usgs.govRelated ItemUSGS groundwater level ItemCSR GRACE time series
http://geodesy.unr.eduRelated ItemNGL GNSS time series Plateaus Aquifer System model
Larochelle, Stacy0000-0001-6161-5605
Chanard, Kristel0000-0001-9934-9621
Fleitout, Luce0000-0003-1114-3616
Fortin, Jérôme0000-0002-6341-3318
Gualandi, Adriano0000-0002-3100-8932
Longuevergne, Laurent0000-0003-3169-743X
Rebischung, Paul0000-0002-2462-1886
Violette, Sophie0000-0002-3031-2852
Avouac, Jean-Philippe0000-0002-3060-8442
Additional Information:© 2022 American Geophysical Union. Accepted manuscript online: 15 February 2022; Manuscript accepted: 10 February 2022; Manuscript revised: 04 February 2022; Manuscript received: 24 August 2021. This study was supported by the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada through a postgraduate doctoral scholarship (PGSD-3-517,078-2018), the Office for Science and Technology of the Embassy of France in the United States through a STEM Chateaubriand Fellowship, the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP contribution #4232) as well as the King Abdullah City for Science and Technology (KACST). The authors would like to thank the editor, Paul Tregoning, and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments which have led to an improved manuscript as well as Roland Bürgmann for insightful discussions. SL would also like to thank Katherine Knierim for providing helpful resources to map OPAS as well as Wilbur Shirley for help with the Fourier analysis.
Group:Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)PGSD-3-517078-2018
Office for Science and Technology of the Embassy of FranceUNSPECIFIED
Institute of Physics of the Globe of ParisUNSPECIFIED
King Abdullah City for Science and TechnologyUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Hydrogeodesy; Poroelasticity; Hydrological loading; GNSS and GRACE data; Elastic properties; Hydrogeology
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20211012-211827889
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Larochelle, S., Chanard, K., Fleitout, L., Fortin, J., Gualandi, A., Longuevergne, L., et al. (2022). Understanding the geodetic signature of large aquifer systems: Example of the Ozark Plateaus in central United States. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 127, e2021JB023097.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:111378
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:13 Oct 2021 17:11
Last Modified:27 Mar 2023 18:10

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