, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 189–205 | Cite as

Magnitude and variations of groundwater seepage along a Florida marine shoreline



Direct groundwater inputs are receiving increasingattention as a potential source of nutrients and otherdissolved constituents to the coastal ocean. Seepageinto St. George Sound, Florida was measuredextensively from 1992 to 1994 using seepage meters. Spatial and temporal variations were documented alonga 7-km stretch of coastline and up to 1 km from shore. Measurements were made at 3 transects perpendicular toshore and 1 transect parallel to shore. The generalresults indicated that seepage decreased with distancefrom shore (2 of 3 transects), and substantialtemporal and spatial variability was observed inseepage flow from nearshore sediments. In addition,trends in mean monthly integrated seepage rates weresimilar to precipitation patterns measured at a nearbycoastal weather station. Based on these measurements, weestimate that the magnitude of groundwater seepage intothe study area is substantial, representing from 0.23 to4.4 m3 ⋅ sec-1of flow through the sediments, approximately equivalentto a first magnitude spring. Although it is unknown howrepresentative this region is with respect to globalgroundwater discharge, it demonstrates thatgroundwater flow can be as important as riverine andspring discharge in some cases. Our subsurfacedischarge rates suggest groundwater is an importanthydrologic source term for this region and may beimportant to the coastal biogeochemistry as well.


Precipitation Geochemistry Temporal Variation Weather Station Spatial Variability 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Belyaev AV (1977) Integrated dependence of the water budget of the principal geographical zones of the world, Akad. Nauk. SSSR ser. geograph. No. 1. Summarized In: World Resources 1990-91, Ch 10, "Freshwater," Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  2. Bokuniewicz H (1980) Groundwater seepage into Great South Bay, New York. Estuaries and Coastal Marine Science 10: 257–288Google Scholar
  3. Brock TD, Lee DR, Janes D & Winek D (1982) Groundwater seepage as a nutrient source to a drainage lake: Lake Mendota, Wisconsin. Water Research 16: 1255–1263Google Scholar
  4. Cable JE, Burnett WC, Chanton JP, Corbett DR & Cable PH (1996) A field evaluation of seepage meters in a coastal marine environment. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, in pressGoogle Scholar
  5. Cathles LM & members of Working Group 3 (1987) Fluid circulation in the crust and the global geochemical budget. In: Report of the Second Conference on Scientific Ocean Drilling, COSOD II (pp 67–86). Strasbourg, FranceGoogle Scholar
  6. Connor JN & Belanger TV (1981) Groundwater seepage in Lake Washington and the Upper St. John's River, Florida. Water Resources Bulletin 17(5): 799–805Google Scholar
  7. Fernald EA & Patton DJ (1985) Water Resources Atlas of Florida. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 291 ppGoogle Scholar
  8. Garrels RM & MacKenzie FT (1967) Evolution of Sedimentary Rocks. Norton & CoGoogle Scholar
  9. Hendry C & Sproul C (1966) Geology and groundwater resources of Leon County, Florida. Florida Geol. Surv. Bull. No. 47: 1–178Google Scholar
  10. Iverson RL & Bittacker HF (1986) Seagrass distribution and abundance in eastern Gulf of Mexico coastal waters. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 22: 577–602Google Scholar
  11. Lee DR (1977) A device for measuring seepage flux in lakes and estuaries. Limnol. Oceanogr. 22: 140–147Google Scholar
  12. Lee DR & Cherry JA (1978) A field exercise on groundwater flow using seepage meters and mini-piezometers. J. Geological Educ. 27: 6–10Google Scholar
  13. Lee RW & Hollyday EF (1993) Use of radon measurements in Carters Creek, Maury County, Tennessee, to determine location and magnitude of ground-water seepage. In: LCS Gundersen & RB Wanty (Eds) Field Studies of Radon in Rocks, Soils, and Water (pp 237–242). C K Smoley Publishing CoGoogle Scholar
  14. Lesack LFW (1995) Seepage exchange in an Amazon floodplain lake. Limnol. Oceanogr. 40(3): 598–609Google Scholar
  15. Lewis JB (1987) Measurements of groundwater seepage flux onto a coral reef: Spatial and temporal variations. Limnol. Oceanogr. 32(5): 1165–1169Google Scholar
  16. Manheim FT (1967) Evidence for submarine groundwater discharge of water on the Atlantic continental slope of the southern United States, and suggestions for further research. New York Academy of Sciences Transactions, ser. 2 29: 839–853Google Scholar
  17. McBride MS & Pfannkuch HO (1975) The distribution of seepage within lake beds. United States Geological Survey J. Res. 3: 505–512Google Scholar
  18. Moore WS (1996) Large groundwater inputs to coastal waters revealed by 226Ra enrichments. Nature 380: 612–614Google Scholar
  19. Morris A (1995) The Florida Handbook. Peninsular Publ. Co., Tallahassee, Florida, 763 ppGoogle Scholar
  20. Nace RL (1967) Are we running out of water? US Geological Survey Circ. 536: 7 ppGoogle Scholar
  21. Nace RL (1970) World Hydrology: status and prospects. In: World Water Balance (pp 1–10), I. Symposium for the Association of Internationale D'Hydrologie Scientifique PublicationNo. 92Google Scholar
  22. Rosenau J, Faulkner G, Hendry C & Hull R (1977) Springs of Florida. US Geol. Surv. Bulletin No. 31: 1–461Google Scholar
  23. Shaw RD & Prepas EE (1989) Anomalous, short-term influx of water into seepage meters. Limnol. Oceanogr. 34: 1343–1351Google Scholar
  24. Shaw RD & Prepas EE (1990a) Groundwater-lake interactions: II. Nearshore seepage patterns and the contribution of ground water to lakes in CentralAlberta. J.Hydrology 119: 121–136Google Scholar
  25. Shaw RD & Prepas EE (1990b) Groundwater-lake interactions: II. Accuracy of seepage meter estimates of lake seepage. J. Hydrology 119: 105–120Google Scholar
  26. Shaw RD, Shaw JFH, Fricker H & Prepas EE (1990) An integrated approach to quantify groundwater transport of phosphorus to Narrow Lake, Alberta. Limnol. Oceanogr. 35: 870–886Google Scholar
  27. Wagner JR (1989) Potentiometric surface of the Floridan aquifer system in the northwest Florida water management district. Northwest Florida Water Management District Water Resources Map Series 89-001Google Scholar
  28. Zektzer IS, Ivanov VA & Meskheteli AV (1973) The problem of direct groundwater discharge to the seas. J. Hydrology 20: 1–36Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

    • 1
    • 2
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Fisheries and Aquatic SciencesUniversity of FloridaGainesville
  2. 2.Department of OceanographyFlorida State UniversityTallahassee

Personalised recommendations