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New insights on fractures deformation from tiltmeter data measured inside the Fontaine de Vaucluse karst system

Abstract : Tilt fluctuations can potentially reflect the response of hydrosystems to important rainfall. In this context, long baseline tiltmeters have been installed in an underground tunnel penetrating the Fontaine de Vaucluse karst to study the medium deformation related to solicitations exerted by water infiltrating the hydrosystem. The instruments monitor the tilt as well as its spatial variation. Northward tilts reaching a 1 μrad amplitude are observed consecutively to rainfalls. The tilt amplitude is highly correlated with the Fontaine de Vaucluse outlet flow fluctuations. The measured tilt signal is also relatively homogeneous over a 150 m length. Different types of structure likely to produce such observations are tested in order to identify their location with respect to the tiltmeters, their dimension as well as the amount of water level variation in the structure. Following rainfalls, the infiltration of water modifies the pore pressure, inducing a medium deformation. The hypothesis of an homogeneous surface loading on the Vaucluse plateau is first refuted since the related tilt is much lower than the one measured. The water supplied by rainfalls has to accumulate in discontinuities in order to generate a higher tilt. So, the deformation related to a pressure exerted on a fracture filled by water is assessed. A first study reveals the interest of the tilt homogeneity information that constrains strongly the fracture properties. Thus, the fracture must be located at a distance more than a few hundreds metres from the tiltmeters in order to produce a tilt homogeneous in space. If the fracture is initially dry, it must also be filled on a height higher than 150 m consecutive to a rainfall in order to generate a tilt amplitude in the same magnitude as the one measured. Then, we explore the influence of water level variations on the tilt produced by a fracture located at the interface between the saturated and unsaturated zones, which are thereby permanently flooded. Since several parameters of that model satisfactorily explain the field observations, we discuss how simultaneous geodetical observations could provide complementary information that would further constrain the geometry of the structure at the origin of the medium deformation.
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Submitted on : Thursday, July 6, 2017 - 2:35:37 PM
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Nolwenn Lesparre, Frédérick Boudin, Cedric Champollion, Jean Chery, C. Danquigny, et al.. New insights on fractures deformation from tiltmeter data measured inside the Fontaine de Vaucluse karst system. Geophysical Journal International, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2017, 208 (3), pp.1389-1402. ⟨10.1093/gji/ggw446⟩. ⟨insu-01408482⟩



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