Geophysical imaging of water ages within an experimental hillslope

Antônio Alves Meira Neto, Minseok Kim1, and Peter Troch1

Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences
The University of Arizona

Correctly estimating ages of water within the landscape can provide insights and leverage our understanding of Critical Zone (CZ) internal functioning and structure. As opposed to traditional lumped-systems approach, the direct observation of the movement of water possible through the use of Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) can leverage the understanding of the internal variability of water ages within the CZ.

In this study we estimate of the internal distribution of ages of water within a model hillslope subject to a periodic steady state regime. We developed an electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) approach to generate images of water ages through time. We compared these images with lumped estimates from isotopic analysis of discharge water under the framework of StorAge Selection (SAS) functions in order to investigate whether SAS functions can be used as descriptors of physical processes controlling ages of water at natural hillslopes.

1University of Arizona, Biosphere 2, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

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