Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest hurricane ever recorded to make landfall. (Credit: Bayani Cardenas)
The time it takes for an aquifer to recover from contamination depends on the geology and infrastructure surrounding it, according to a recent press release from the University of Texas at Austin.
UT at Austin researchers compared two aquifers’ recovery following the devastating Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013. One aquifer was predicted to be contaminated with salt water for up to ten years in the village the researchers studied, whereas a second aquifer was found to recover from salt water contamination much faster.
The first aquifer had a beach sand environment about 10-15 feet deep, allowing salt water to flow through the water table for years to come. The second aquifer was in a volcanic rock environment much deeper under the surface. Although salt water could initially reach it due to overflow of salt water from the surface, surface water flow quickly dissipated the salt water. The volcanic rock environment protected it from any additional salt water seepage, making it recover within a few months, the researchers found.
As coastal populations expand and climate change becomes more severe, studies that can predict water contamination and other effects from typhoons and other catastrophic weather events will continue to gain significance.
Top image: Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest hurricane ever recorded to make landfall. (Credit: Bayani Cardenas)