Crab burrows as conduits for groundwater-surface water exchange in Bangladesh
Author(s)Stahl, Mason O.; Tarek, M. H.; Yeo, Darren C. J.; Badruzzaman, A. B. M.; Harvey, Charles F.
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Groundwater recharge affects water budgets and groundwater quality on the deltas and floodplains of South and Southeast Asia. Rain and flooding rivers recharge groundwater during the monsoon; irrigated rice fields and surface water bodies recharge aquifers during the dry season. Groundwater throughout the region is severely contaminated by arsenic, and recent research suggests that quantifying and characterizing recharge is important to understand whether recharge flushes or mobilizes arsenic from aquifers. At a field site in Bangladesh, we found that burrows of terrestrial crabs short-circuit low-permeability surface sediments, providing the primary conduit for recharge. We combine field observations along with a model that couples isotope and water balances to quantify the effect of crab burrows on aquifer recharge. Given the wide distribution of burrowing crabs and the surficial geology, we suggest that crab burrows provide widespread conduits for groundwater recharge.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Geophysical Research Letters
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Stahl, Mason O., M. H. Tarek, Darren C. J. Yeo, A. B. M. Badruzzaman, and Charles F. Harvey. “Crab Burrows as Conduits for Groundwater-Surface Water Exchange in Bangladesh.” Geophysical Research Letters 41, no. 23 (December 1, 2014): 8342–8347. © 2014 American Geophysical Union
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