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ERT, GPR, InSAR, and tracer tests to characterize karst aquifer systems under urban areas: The case of Quebec City.

Martel, Richard; Castellazzi, Pascal; Gloaguen, Erwan; Trépanier, Luc; Garfias, Jaime (2018). ERT, GPR, InSAR, and tracer tests to characterize karst aquifer systems under urban areas: The case of Quebec City. Geomorphology , vol. 310 . p. 45-56. DOI: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2018.03.003.

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Résumé

Urban infrastructures built over karst settings may be at risk of collapse due to hydro-chemical erosion of underlying rock structures. In such settings, mapping cave networks and monitoring ground stability is important to assure civil safety and guide future infrastructure development decisions. However, no technique can directly and comprehensively map these hydrogeological features and monitor their stability. The most reliable method to map a cave network is through speleological exploration, which is not always possible due to restrictions, narrow corridors/passages, or high water levels. Borehole drilling is expensive and is often only performed where the presence of karsts is suggested by other techniques. Numerous indirect and cost-effective methods exist to map a karst flow system, such as geophysics, geodesy, and tracer tests. This paper presents the outcomes from a challenging application in Quebec City, Canada, where a multidisciplinary approach was designed to better understand the groundwater dynamics and cave paths. Two tracer tests in groundwater flowing through the cave system indicated that water flows along an approximately straight path from the sinking stream to the spring. It also suggests the presence of a parallel flow path close to the one already partially mapped. This observation was confirmed by combining Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) techniques, and ultimately by observing voids in several boreholes drilled close to the main cave path. Lowering the water levels at the suspected infiltration zone and inside the karst, the infiltration cracks were identified and the hydraulic link between them was confirmed. In fact, almost no infiltration occurs into the karst system when the water level at the sinking stream drops below a threshold level. Finally, SAR interferometry (InSAR) using RADARSAT-2 images detected movements on few buildings located over a backfilled sinkhole intercepted by the karst system and confirmed the stability of the rest of the karst area. The knowledge of the flow system described in this paper is used by policy makers to assure civil security of this densely populated area.

Type de document: Article
Mots-clés libres: karst; sinkhole; urban area; multidisciplinary approach
Centre: Centre Eau Terre Environnement
Date de dépôt: 06 avr. 2018 15:11
Dernière modification: 06 avr. 2018 15:11
URI: http://espace.inrs.ca/id/eprint/6895

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