Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Taylor & Francis & IAHS Press, Hydrological Sciences Journal, DOI: 10.1080/02626667.2014.992790


Copyright by the authors. Used by permission.


Floodplains are composed of complex depositional patterns of ancient and recent stream sediments, and research is needed to address the manner in which coarse floodplain materials affect stream/groundwater exchange patterns. Efforts to understand the heterogeneity of aquifers have utilized numerous techniques typically focused on point-scale measurements; however, in highly heterogeneous settings, the ability to model heterogeneity is dependent on the data density and spatial distribution. The objective of this research was to investigate the correlation between broad-scale methodologies for detecting heterogeneity and the observed spatial variability in stream/groundwater interactions of gravel-dominated alluvial floodplains. More specifically, this study examined the correlation between electrical resistivity (ER) and alluvial groundwater patterns during a flood event at a site on Barren Fork Creek (BFC), in the Ozark ecoregion of Oklahoma, USA, where chert gravels 2 were common both as streambed and floodplain material. Water table elevations from groundwater monitoring wells for a flood event on May 1-5, 2009 were compared to electrical resistivity maps at various elevations. Areas with high electrical resistivity matched areas with lower water table slope at the same elevation. This research demonstrated that electrical resistivity approaches were capable of indicating heterogeneity in surface water/groundwater interactions, and that these heterogeneities were present even in an aquifer matrix characterized as highly conductive. Portions of gravel-dominated floodplain vadose zones characterized by high hydraulic conductivity features can result in heterogeneous flow patterns when the vadose zone of alluvial floodplains activates during storm events.