Abstract

Electrical-resistivity surveys, seepage meter measurements, and drive-point piezometers have been used to characterize chloride-enriched groundwater in lakebed sediments of Mirror Lake, New Hampshire, U.S.A. A combination of bottom-cable and floating-cable electrical-resistivity surveys identified a conductive zone (<100ohm-m) overlying resistive bedrock (<1000ohm-m) beneath the lake. Shallow pore-water samples from piezometers in lakebed sediments have chloride concentrations of 2001800μeq/liter, and lake water has a chloride concentration of 104μeq/liter. The extent of the plume was estimated and mapped using resistivity and water-sample data. The plume (20×35m wide and at least 3m thick) extends nearly the full length and width of a small inlet, overlying the top of a basin formed by the bedrock. It would not have been possible to mapthe plume's shape without the resistivity surveys because wells provided only limited coverage. Seepage meters were installed approximately 40m from the mouth of a small stream discharging at the head of the inlet in an area where the resistivity data indicated lake sediments are thin. These meters recorded in-seepage of chloride-enriched groundwater at rates similar to those observed closer to shore, which was unexpected because seepage usually declines away from shore. Although the concentration of road salt in the northeast inlet stream is declining, the plume map and seepage data indicate the groundwater contribution of road salt to the lake is not declining. The findings demonstrate the benefit of combining geophysical and hydrologic data to characterize discharge of a plume beneath Mirror Lake. The extent of the plume in groundwater beneath the lake and stream indicate there will likely be a long-term source of chloride to the lake from groundwater.

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