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Electrical Geophysical Data Collected in the Scott M. Matheson Wetlands Preserve Near Moab, Utah


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Briggs, M.A., Nelson, N.C., Gardner, P.M., and Lane, J.W., 2018, Electrical geophysical data collected in the Scott M. Matheson Wetlands Preserve near Moab, Utah: U.S. Geological Survey data release,


Quantitative evaluation of groundwater/surface water exchange dynamics is universally challenging in large river systems, because existing physical methodology often does not yield spatially-distributed data and is difficult to utilize in deeper water. Here we apply combined frequency domain electromagnetic induction (EMI) and direct contact vertical electrical sounding (VES) measurements to identify shallow, fresh groundwater discharge to the Colorado River through a 4 km2 wetland that borders the town of Moab, Utah, USA. EMI data were collected by a mobile tool that was hand carried or floated on the back of a kayak, providing extensive spatial coverage for the upper approximate 5 m of river channel/sediments. The VES measurements [...]

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These data were collected in an effort to characterize the spatial distribution of fresh groundwater flowpaths toward an approximate 4.5 km reach of the Colorado River through a 4 km2 wetland area adjacent to the town of Moab, Utah, USA. Fresh groundwater moving beneath the wetland and discharging to the Colorado River had been proposed as an important discharge component of Moab-Spanish Valley Groundwater budget. For decades, estimates of discharge through the wetland have relied on sparse well data and Darcy-based calculations assuming a simple rectangular geometry of the fresh groundwater seepage face under the wetland. However, more recent work has indicated fresh groundwater flowpaths might be confined to narrower, shallow zones underlain by dense natural groundwater brines, creating a much reduced seepage face geometry. We applied a combination of towed and hand-carried EMI, along with VES measurements, to evaluate groundwater flow patterns across the wetland area and guide additional direct pore water sampling.

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DOI doi:10.5066/F75M63ZF

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