Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 1301–1313 | Cite as

Rapid and Intense Phosphate Desorption Kinetics When Saltwater Intrudes into Carbonate Rock

  • Hilary Flower
  • Mark Rains
  • David Lewis
  • Jia-Zhong Zhang
Article

Abstract

It is important to understand how phosphate sorption dynamics of coastal carbonate aquifers are affected by seawater intrusion, because many coastal aquifers are composed of carbonate rocks and subject to an increase in saltwater intrusion during relative sea-level rise. Twelve carbonate rock and unconsolidated sediment specimens were acquired from a test corehole spanning the full thickness of the Biscayne aquifer in southeastern Florida. All 12 samples exhibit low phosphorus content but variable contents of iron. Column leaching experiments were conducted with two carbonate aquifer samples, alternating between freshwater and saltwater flow. With the first influx of saltwater, phosphate concentration in leachate increased rapidly from a freshwater value of approximately 0.2 μM to peaks of between 0.8 and 1.6 μM. The phosphate concentration began to diminish as saltwater continued to flow, but sustained desorption continued for over 2 h. Overall, seawater drove sorption behavior much more than chemical composition for the aquifer rocks and sediment from the seven rock samples for which we did isotherm sorption experiments. Our results indicate that an immediate and intense pulse of phosphate desorption from carbonate rock and sediment with low phosphorus content occurs in response to an influx of seawater and that the duration of desorption will vary by layer within a single aquifer.

Keywords

Florida Everglades Groundwater Submarine groundwater discharge 

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Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of GeosciencesUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Integrative BiologyUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  3. 3.Ocean Chemistry and Ecosystems Division, Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological LaboratoryNational Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationMiamiUSA

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