Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 35, Issue 6, pp 1486–1499 | Cite as

Detecting Freshwater Inputs via Groundwater Discharge to Marina Lagoon, Mediterranean Coast, Egypt

  • Ayman A. El-GamalEmail author
  • Richard N. Peterson
  • William C. Burnett


Much work in recent years has reported on the role of submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) on coastal biogeochemistry, but most of those studies have focused on temperate or tropical climates where year-round rainfall recharges surficial aquifers. The aim of this work, however, was to examine SGD behaviors in an arid setting—Marina Lagoon on the Egyptian Mediterranean coast. SGD was estimated via radon surveys and time-series measurements in lagoon waters during two campaigns (wet season in March 2009 and dry season in July 2010). Relatively higher values of radon were detected in March (maximum >30 dpm/L) compared to July (up to 16 dpm/L), which would indicate either enhanced input rates, or lower mixing/atmospheric losses during the wet season. Lower salinity waters within Marina Lagoon were characterized by higher radon and higher concentrations of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and silica (DISi), characteristic of groundwater inputs. Based on lagoon and groundwater radon measurements and an advection-diffusion model, SGD average rates between 0.83 to 2.4 × 108 L/day were estimated for both surveys. Since no seasonal pattern was detected, we suspect that either (1) SGD is derived from a regional aquifer not influenced by recharge from local rainfall or (2) local water use for irrigation and domestic purposes artificially recharges the surficial aquifer in the dry summer (tourist) months, which compensates for the lack of rainfall occurring at that time.


Submarine groundwater discharge Egypt Radon Nutrients 



The senior author thanks the administrations and individuals of the Coastal Research Institute (CoRI) who assisted with vital logistical and field assistance. The US team gratefully acknowledges financial support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of International Science and Engineering (grant number OISE-0809040). We also thank Quaye Trimble (CCU) for help with the GIS diagrams.


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Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ayman A. El-Gamal
    • 1
    Email author
  • Richard N. Peterson
    • 2
  • William C. Burnett
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Oceanography, Coastal Research Institute (CoRI)National Water Research CenterAlexandriaEgypt
  2. 2.Center for Marine and Wetland StudiesCoastal Carolina UniversityConwayUSA
  3. 3.Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric SciencesFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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