Présentations Colloques

    Session 8.05: Karst aquifers
    Bobeck (orateur)
    Abbé Paramelle's Method for Finding Groundwater in Karst
    In 1856 Abbé Paramelle published a best-selling book entitled The Art of Finding Springs that played a major role in promoting groundwater in France. Paramelle started searching for shallow water on the Jurassic karst plateau, the Causses de Quercy, in the Dept. of Lot in the 1820s. He identified the terrain of Lot as clay, granite, and limestone+ recognized that rainfall formed streams on clay and granite but not on limestone+ and observed that runoff infiltrates limestone and forms underground rivulets that issue as springs or flow into rivers. He estimated depth to water by measuring the elevation difference between sinkholes and springs and the distance between them. Success finding water in Lot launched Paramelle’s career as a hydrogeologist. By 1854, he had evaluated 30,000 localities in person and predicted the probability of groundwater at 10,000 places, with a 90% success rate. His fame was such that Henry Darcy favorably reviewed Paramelle’s method in The Public Fountains of the City of Dijon. ** Paramelle refined his methods as he prospected in 39 French departments. He noted that linear depressions host streams either at or beneath the surface and he estimated karstic spring discharge to be proportional to the length of a dry valley. He also hypothesized that aligned dolines mark out an underground water conduit that rests on an impermeable layer and that water erodes conduit walls and roofs to create dolines. By estimating runoff and evapotranspiration, he calculated a 1-12 ratio of spring discharge to rainfall at potential sites for wells and springs. Paramelle’s model served the Dept. of Lot until the 1970s when dye tracing and cave surveys revealed groundwater flow through deep karstic conduits along tectonic features. This example shows how direct observational methods coupled to new technologies (e.g. remote sensing, geophysics) improve conceptual models for evaluating karstic systems.**
    United States


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