|Number of page(s)||12|
|Published online||18 March 2011|
Hydrodynamic organisation of the flows in the unsaturated zone of the Fontaine de Vaucluse karst system. First results
Karst systems contain important groundwater resources. Due to their complexity, they are generally under exploited. Particularly, the hydrodynamic functioning of the unsaturated zone is badly understood even if its important role is admitted Today, the hydrogeologists are agreeing with the important function(s) of the unsaturated zone in karst systems, but today this role(s) is badly characterized. As they are very complex systems, karst aquifers are generally under exploited. It is necessary to progress in the understanding of the functioning of the karst systems and particulary in the functioning of the unsaturated zone in order to develop the corresponding management tools. The study of the unsaturated zone of a karst system needs some access to this part of the aquifer. Speleological access is not sufficient because the major part of the water flows in not humanly enterable drains. The Low-Noise Underground Laboratory of Rustrel- Pays d’Apt (LSBB) is an artificial gallery digged in the unsaturated zone of the Fontaine de Vaucluse karst aquifer catchment area. It intersects arbitrarily the fault networks in depth and then the potential areas of flows through the unsaturated zone. From 2002 to 2009, 61 points where water regularly flows have been identified. For each, flow rate has been periodically monitored. This first global study of the acquired data shows a good relation between flows and geological structures. An organization of flows with depth and geology is also underlined. With increasing depth, flows seem to concentrate from numerous faults networks to a little number of high discontinuities.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2011