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Western Indian Ocean Journal of Marine Science

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Assessing Spatio-temporal Patterns of Groundwater Salinity in Small Coral Islands in the Western Indian Ocean

J-L Join, O Banton, J-C Comte, J Leze, F Massin, E Nicolini

Abstract


We investigated groundwater salinity as a key element in both the short and long-term evolution of the island of Grande Glorieuse. Firstly, we demonstrated that its evolution involved the integration of the whole range of variables forcing climate change. Piezometric surveys designed to sample the salinity of the subsoil waters of Grande Glorieuse could therefore provide an objective indicator of the environment’s evolution. Then, based on information from geoelectrical investigations, we proved that the spatial distribution of salinity is strongly dependent on the geological structure of the island. Structural heterogeneities can influence vulnerability of the island environment to salinization of the freshwater lens. Thus, characterization and monitoring of the freshwater lens will provide a reliable means of observing and managing anticipated climate changes on small islands.

Keywords: small coral islands, Grande Glorieuse, hydrogeology, seawater
intrusion, borehole monitoring, electrical resistance tomography, climate change.






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