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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2020-75
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2020-75
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  27 May 2020

27 May 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal SE.

Water- and land-borne geophysical surveys before and after the sudden water-level decrease of two large karst lakes in southern Mexico

Matthias Bücker1,2, Adrián Flores Orozco2, Jakob Gallistl2, Matthias Steiner2, Lukas Aigner2, Johannes Hoppenbrock1, Ruth Glebe1, Wendy Morales Barrera3, Carlos Pita de la Paz4, Emilio García García4, José Alberto Razo Pérez4, Johannes Buckel1, Andreas Hördt1, Antje Schwalb5, and Liseth Perez3,5 Matthias Bücker et al.
  • 1Institute for Geophysics and Extraterrestrial Physics, TU Braunschweig, Braunschweig, 38106, Germany
  • 2Department of Geodesy and Geoinformation, Research Group Geophysics, TU Wien, 1040, Austria
  • 3Instituto de Geología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, 04510, Mexico
  • 4Geotem Ingeniería S.A. de C.V., Mexico City, 14640, Mexico
  • 5Institute of Geosystems and Bioindication, TU Braunschweig, 38106, Germany

Abstract. The present geophysical study was motivated by the need to determine suitable coring locations for paleolimnological studies in two karst lakes (Metzabok and Tzibaná) of the Lacandon Forest in Chiapas, southern Mexico. We used seismic and transient electromagnetic methods to map the sediment thickness below the lake floor. When lakes were filled in March 2018, we collected seismic data with a sub-bottom profiler (SBP) and transient electromagnetic (TEM) data with a floating single-loop configuration. The latter aimed at assessing the TEM method as an alternative to seismic methods for the investigation of lake sediments and geology. After the first campaign, water levels of both studied lakes dropped dramatically by July 2019, leaving Lake Metzabok (maximum depth ~ 25 m) dry and Lake Tzibaná (~ 70 m) with a water level decreased by approx. 30 m. After the sudden drainage of the lakes, we complemented water-borne measurements by a survey carried out on the exposed lake floor in October 2019, when lake levels were still low. During this second campaign, we collected time-domain induced polarization (TDIP), and seismic refraction tomography (SRT) data on the desiccated bed of Lake Metzabok and some dry parts of Lake Tzibaná. By comparing the various data sets, we find that (i) SBP and TDIP phase images consistently resolve the thickness of the fine-grained lacustrine sediments covering the lake floor, (ii) TEM and TDIP resistivity images consistently detect the upper limit of the limestone bedrock and the geometry of fluvial deposits of a river delta, and (iii) TDIP and SRT images suggest the existence of a layer that separates the lacustrine sediments from the limestone bedrock and consists of collapse debris mixed with lacustrine sediments. While our results do not imply that resistivity-based methods could generally replace seismic reflection surveys for lake-bottom reconnaissance, they clearly show that TEM and TDIP surveys can provide important complementary information and resolve additional geological units or bedrock heterogeneities.

Matthias Bücker et al.

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Water- and land-borne geophysical surveys before and after the sudden water-level decrease of two large karst lakes in southern Mexico (v1.1) M. Bücker, A. Flores Orozco, J. Gallistl, M. Steiner, L. Aigner, J. Hoppenbrock, R. Glebe, W. Morales Barrera, C. Pita de la Paz, E. García García, J. Alberto Razo Pérez, J. Buckel, A. Hördt, A. Schwalb, and L. Pérez https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3782402

Matthias Bücker et al.

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Short summary
We use seismic, electromagnetic, and geoelectrical methods to assess sediment thickness and lake-bottom geology of two karst lakes. An unexpected drainage event provided us with the unusual opportunity to compare water-borne measurements with measurements carried out on the dry lake floor. The resulting data set does not only provide insight into the specific lake-bottom geology of the studied lakes but also evidences the potential and limitations of the employed field methods.
We use seismic, electromagnetic, and geoelectrical methods to assess sediment thickness and...
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