Tidal wave propagation in a coastal aquifer: Effects of leakages through its submarine outlet-capping and offshore roof

Yuqiang Xia, Hailong Li, Michel C. Boufadel, Qiaona Guo, Guohui Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


This paper considers a leaky aquifer system comprising an unconfined aquifer, a confined aquifer, and a confining layer (the aquifer's roof). The unconfined aquifer terminates at the coastline, the confined aquifer and its roof extend under the sea for a certain distance. The aquifer's submarine outlet is covered by a thin layer of sediment (referred to as the "outlet-capping" hereafter) with properties dissimilar to the aquifer. Previous studies either neglected the leakage through the aquifer's roof or the outlet-capping. This paper considers both effects and gives an analytical solution to describe the tide-induced head fluctuation in the aquifer system. For aquifers with zero or infinite offshore length, or with impermeable roof or outlet-capping, or without the outlet-capping, existing solutions in the literature are obtained. We defined the threshold value for the offshore aquifer length, which was found to be less than 5 km for typical coastal aquifer systems. For an aquifer with its offshore length greater than the threshold, the inland head fluctuation becomes insensitive to variations of this length and the outlet-capping's leakance. The leakage through the offshore roof decreases the threshold value. When the offshore confined aquifer is short, the inland head fluctuation increases with the outlet-capping's leakance. In this case negative phase shift occurs near the coastline only for aquifers with small leakages through the offshore roof and the outlet-capping. In general, the combined actions of the tidal loading, the leakage and length of the offshore roof, and the leakage of the outlet-capping lead to complex, non-monotonic dependency of the inland head fluctuation on the aquifer parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-257
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Apr 30 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology


  • Analytical solution
  • Coastal submarine aquifer
  • Leakage
  • Leaky boundary condition
  • Submarine aquifer outlet-capping
  • Threshold of offshore length
  • Tidal wave propagation
  • Tide


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