On the extinction depth of freezing-induced groundwater migration

Xiao Wei Jiang*, Hong Yu Xie, Shemin Ge, Han Tang, Shu Cong Tan, Xu Sheng Wang, Li Wan, Yijian Zeng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
68 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Although water table recessions associated with seasonal freezing have been widely reported, the conditions that groundwater could respond to seasonal freezing are poorly known. Based on 30 records of winter-time water table recessions reported in the literature, we find the mean water table recession increases from sand to loam to silt to clay. To obtain a quantitative understanding of the conditions of freezing-induced groundwater migration and the role of soil texture, we construct a one-dimensional SHAW model with a dynamic water table that could respond to winter-time atmospheric conditions. By simulating freezing-induced groundwater migration under a series of pre-freezing water table depths, soil textures and freezing indices, we find the extinction depth of freezing-induced groundwater migration, i.e., the limit water table depth beyond which there is negligible freezing-induced groundwater flow, increases from coarse to fine soils and increases with freezing index. Moreover, we find there is a good linear relationship between the distance from the freezing front to the water table corresponding to the extinction depth of freezing-induced groundwater migration and the distance from the land surface to the water table corresponding to the extinction depth of evaporation-induced groundwater migration for different soils. To demonstrate the importance of defining extinction depth, we also show the overestimation of freezing-induced water gain in the frozen zone by the widely used fixed water table condition when the water table depth is shallower than the extinction depth. This study has implications for future hydrologic and engineering studies in critical zones with a cold climate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number129358
JournalJournal of hydrology
Volume619
Early online date8 Mar 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Keywords

  • Cryosuction
  • Evaporation
  • Freezing Index
  • SHAW
  • Soil Texture
  • Water table recession
  • 2023 OA procedure

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