, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 256-268,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 29 May 2010

Submarine Groundwater Discharge to a High-Energy Surf Zone at Stinson Beach, California, Estimated Using Radium Isotopes


Two 14-day experiments conducted in the dry summer (July 2006) and wet winter (March 2007) seasons, respectively, examined tidal, wave-driven, and seasonal variability of submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) at Stinson Beach, CA, using natural radium tracers. Tide stage, tide range, breaker height, and season each explained a significant degree of radium variability in the surf zone. A mass balance of excess radium in the surf zone was used to estimate SGD for each season, confirming larger discharge rates during the wet season. Our results indicate median groundwater discharge rates of 6 to 8 L min−1 m−1 in July 2006 and 38 to 43 L min−1 m−1 in March 2007. SGD from 200 m of Stinson Beach in March 2007 contributed a flux of phosphate and dissolved inorganic nitrogen approximately equal to that associated with all local creeks and streams within 6 km of the study site at that time.