Publication Date

5-2010

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Lee Florea (Director), Dr. Fred Siewers, Dr. Michael May, Dr. John Mylroie

Degree Program

Department of Geography and Geology

Degree Type

Master of Science in Geosciences

Abstract

A major economic constraint in the Bahamas, and other small carbonates islands world-wide, is the lack of fresh water resources. To combat these socio-economic problems on San Salvador Island I sought to gain a more detailed understanding of the extent, behavior, and controls on the island’s fresh-water lens. DC electrical resistivity tomography and time-series geochemical data are used to study the fresh water lens at the Line Hole well field. Electrical Resistivity profiles are used to image the extent of fresh water resources. Time-series geochemical data provide information on the behavior of the fresh water resources as a function of time.

The inversion models of the electrical resistivity profiles illustrate a fresh water lens less than 3 meters thick on average. The mixing zone is diffuse in nature, and substantially thicker than the fresh water lens. The geochemical results corroborate the fresh water lens dimensions predicted by the electrical resistivity model. In addition, mixed semi-diurnal and spring/neap tidal cycles are the primary control on the water level. Statistical analysis of specific conductance and temperature illustrate a positive and negative correlation with water level, respectively. Analysis of precipitation with respect to water level and geochemistry indicate low effective recharge rates during the period of study.

The current state of the water resources at the Line Hole well field is strained. Despite moderate levels of freshening since the termination of pumping in December 2006; the system continues to be in a state of disequilibrium. The problem is compounded by abnormal thickening of the mixing zone due to communication of the well field with the ocean, and a limited volume of fresh water. In conclusion, the two techniques used in conjunction provide a non-invasive method of estimating fresh water resources in this type of setting. Conversely, the high RMS and L2 values for the electrical resistivity models and limited time-series data create a high level of uncertainty in the interpretation of results.

Disciplines

Fresh Water Studies | Geology | Natural Resource Economics | Physical and Environmental Geography