Gulf of Mexico Groundwater Wells
A team from the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center heads out into the Gulf of Mexico to check on a set of recently installed groundwater wells. These types of wells allow scientists to monitor submarine groundwater through time and quantify the flux of groundwater from Florida’s aquifer into the coastal waters of the west Florida Shelf. The groundwater could carry nutrients that could potentially influence algal blooms in the Gulf of Mexico.
Dr. Christopher G. Smith pumps water from the well through tubing to the R/V Halimeda to ensure the wells are working properly and producing groundwater. USGS Summer Intern Sam Randall from Eckerd College is on board to assist.
Divers splash in to check the second set of wells closer to shore. Water from the well has lower salinity than the overlying surface water, confirming that groundwater is pumping through the wells.
The team is one step closer to sampling the groundwater from this system to answer important questions about submarine groundwater flow out of Florida’s coastal aquifers to the west Florida Shelf.