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FLORIDA PROJECTS

Linking a conceptual karst hydrogeologic model of the Biscayne aquifer to groundwater flow simulations from Everglades National Park to Biscayne National Park, Southeastern Florida

Project Chief: Kevin J. Cunningham
Funding: U.S. Geological Survey Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystem Science Initiative & National Park Service Critical Ecosystem Studies Initiative
Period of Project: October 2006 - September 2011

Problem Statement

Click to enlarge - Figure 1. Combined topographic and bathymetry map looking southward across project study area (orange line), coreholes used in this study (red dots), and marine reflection seismic lines acquired for this study (black lines).

Figure 1. Combined topographic and bathymetry map looking southward across project study area (orange line), coreholes used in this study (red dots), and marine reflection seismic lines acquired for this study (black lines).

Research is needed to determine how the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) seepage project controls actions within the dual-porosity karstic Biscayne aquifer between the Everglades wetlands and Biscayne Bay. A fundamental problem in the simulation of karst-carbonate, groundwater flow, and solute transport is how best to represent aquifer heterogeneity as defined by the spatial distribution of porosity, permeability, and storage. The dual porosity of the Biscayne aquifer is principally: (1) matrix of interparticle and separate-vug porosity, providing much of the storage and, under dynamic conditions, diffuse-carbonate flow; and (2) touching-vug porosity (including bedding plane vugs, thin solution pipes, and cavernous vugs) creating, in many areas, stratiform groundwater flow passageways. New procedures for simulation of groundwater flow and transport within this dual porosity system are needed that go beyond conventional modeling that is based on equivalent porous medium.

Objectives

(1) Build on a recently hydrogeologic conceptual framework created by the principal investigator, mainly using cyclostratigraphic and borehole geophysical methods to map porosity types and develop a new dual-porosity karst conceptual framework between the Everglades wetlands and Biscayne Bay.

(2) Develop procedures for numerical simulation (beyond those that assume equivalent porous media) of groundwater flow within the Biscayne aquifer dual-porosity system. Technologies developed in this program are novel and will be applicable to integrated science approaches needed by decision makers for adaptive management of ecosystems.

Figure 2. Hydrogeologic cross-section in the area of the L-31N (L-30) Seepage Management Pilot Project along the Everglades wetlands in Miami-Dade County. (A) Hydrologic units, geologic units, marine isotope stages, high-frequency cycles, ideal cycles, and correlation of zones of matrix porosity and zones of macroporosity related to either bedding-plane vugs or Ophiomorpha-dominated ichnofabric, and where preferential flow within the vuggy zones is confirmed by flowmeter measurements (red and yellow arrows). (B) Touching-vug macropority related to an Ophiomorpha-dominated ichnofabric.

Figure 2. Hydrogeologic cross-section in the area of the L-31N (L-30) Seepage Management Pilot Project along the Everglades wetlands in Miami-Dade County. (A) Hydrologic units, geologic units, marine isotope stages, high-frequency cycles, ideal cycles, and correlation of zones of matrix porosity and zones of macroporosity related to either bedding-plane vugs or Ophiomorpha-dominated ichnofabric, and where preferential flow within the vuggy zones is confirmed by flowmeter measurements (red and yellow arrows). (B) Touching-vug macropority related to an Ophiomorpha-dominated ichnofabric.


Approach

  • Develop a new hydrogeologic framework for the karstic Biscayne aquifer between the ENP and BNP within a karstic cyclostratigraphic framework using 3-D geomodeling software.
  • Integrate new and existing well data with water-based reflection seismic data acquired along the eastern margin of the Everglades wetlands and an area eastward into Biscayne National Park and the Atlantic continental shelf to produce the high-resolution hydrogeologic framework (fig. 1).
  • Apply new computational techniques, such as lattice Boltzmann modeling, to conduct calculations of porosity and permeability of core-scale, computer-rendered volumes representative of Biscayne aquifer megaporosity. Using digital optical borehole images as input data, upscale computations of megaporosity and permeability to the borehole scale and inter-borehole scale.
  • Develop quantitative strategies for producing multi-borehole scale geometrical models of the conduit/macroporous layers of the Biscayne aquifer and use them to determine hydraulic conductivity with lattice Boltzmann models and macroporosity.

Results

The permanent network of coreholes installed during this study and numeric karst hydrogeologic models connecting the Everglades wetlands to Biscayne Bay contribute to DOI-related stakeholder’s ability to detect, measure, and monitor change in the Greater Everglades living laboratory. This study has been developing or integrating new methods in the areas of: (1) linking hydrogeology and aquifer characterization to groundwater modeling (fig. 2); (2) borehole geophysics (e.g., digital optical borehole imaging) (fig. 2); (3) surface geophysics (e.g., near-surface high-resolution marine seismic); (4) 3-dimensional visualizations and solid-printing of aquifer characteristics; (5) new hydraulic modeling technologies such as lattice Boltzmann methods; (6) computerized tomographic (CT) computer renderings of aquifer materials; and (7) building strong partnerships with University students and professors, which are critical to advancing USGS science capabilities.

Information Products

Cunningham, K.J., and Sukop, M.C., 2012, Megaporosity and permeability of Thalassinoides-dominated ichnofabrics in the Cretaceous carbonate Edwards-Trinity aquifer system, Texas: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011-2010, 4 p.

Cunningham, K.J., Sukop, M.C., and Curran, H.A., 2012, Chapter 30: Carbonate aquifers: Knaust and Bromely, eds., Developments in Sedimentology: Ichnology in Sedimentary Aquifers, Elsevier, New York.

Cunningham, K.J., and Sukop, M.C., 2011, Multiple technologies applied to characterization of porosity and permeability of the Biscayne aquifer, Florida: U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 2011-1037, 8 pp.

Cunningham, K.J., and Florea, L.J., 2009, The Biscayne aquifer of southeastern Florida, In Palmer, A.N., and Palmer, M.V., eds., Caves and Karst of the USA: Huntsville, Alabama, National Speleological Society, Inc., p. 196-199.

Cunningham, K.J., Sukop, M. C., Huang, H., Alvarez, P.F., Curran, H.A., Renken, R.A., and Dixon, J.F., 2009, Prominence of ichnologically influenced macroporosity in the karst Biscayne aquifer: Stratiform "super-K" zones: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 121, no. 1-2, p. 164-180; doi:10.1130/B26392.1.

Cunningham, K.J., and Walker, C., 2009, Seismic-sag structures in Tertiary carbonate rocks beneath southeastern Florida, USA: evidence for hypogenic speleogenesis?: In Klimchouk, A.B., and Ford, D.C., eds., Hypogene Speleogenesis and Karst Hydrogeology of Artesian Basins. Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology, Special Paper No. 1, Simferopol, Ukraine, p. 151-158.

Florea, L.J., Cunningham, K.J., and Altobelli, S., 2009, NMR imaging of fluid exchange between macropores and matrix in eogenetic karst: Ground Water, p. 382-390.

Cunningham, K.J., Sukop, M.C., Huang, H., Alvarez, P.F., Curran, H.A., Wacker, M.A., Florea, L.J., Renken, R.A., and Dixon, J.F., 2008, Biogenic Macroporosity and Its Lattice Boltzmann Method Permeability in the Karst Biscayne Aquifer: In Sasowsky, I.D., Feazel, C.T., Mylroie, J.E., Palmer, A.N., and Palmer, M.V., eds., Karst from Recent to Reservoirs: Special Publication 14, Karst Waters Institute Proceedings, Leesburg, VA, p. 30-35.

Sukop, M.C., Anwar, S. Lee, J.S., Cunningham, K.J., and Langevin, C.D., 2008, Modeling Ground-water Flow and Solute Transport in Karst with Lattice Boltzmann Methods: In E.L. Kuniansky, ed., U.S. Geological Survey Karst Interest Group Proceedings, Bowling Green, Kentucky, May 27-29, 2008: Scientific Investigations Report 2008-5023, p. 77-86.

Florea, L.J., Cunningham, K.J., and Altobelli, S., 2008, Visualization of groundwater flow within touching-vug and matrix porosity in an eogenetic karst aquifer: In Sasowsky, I.D., Feazel, C.T., Mylroie, J.E., Palmer, A.N., and Palmer, M.V., eds., Karst from Recent to Reservoirs: Special Publication 14, Karst Waters Institute Proceedings, Leesburg, VA, p. 64-75.

Shoemaker, W.B., Cunningham, K.J., Kuniansky, E.L., and Dixon, J.F., 2008, Effects of turbulence on hydraulic heads and parameter sensitivities in preferential groundwater flow layers: Water Resources Research, v. 44, W03501, doi:10.1029/2007WR006601.

[follow the link to the Carbonate Aquifer Characterization laboratory website https://sofia.usgs.gov/cacl/index.php for a complete listing of information products]

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