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Journal Articles Engineering Geology Year : 2008

Karst flash flood in a Mediterranean karst, the case of Fontaine de Nîmes


Karst flash flooding, identified as one of the hazards in karst terrains, is directly linked to the structure and hydraulic properties of karst aquifers. Due to the characteristics of flow within karst aquifers, characterized by a dual flow – diffuse flow within fissured limestone and conduit flow within karst conduits networks – flash flooding may be important in volume and dynamics. Such phenomenon may cause serious damages including loss of lives, as it occurred on 3rd October 1988 in Nîmes (Gard, South France). Flash floods there have been considered to be the result of very intensive rainfall events conjugated to runoff due to the geomorphologic context of the city located down hill. However, preliminary results of recent studies of the hydrologic behaviour of groundwater and surface water for a specific event (September 2005) based on an extensive monitoring of the karst aquifer coupled to a classical runoff monitoring show that the role of the karst in the flood genesis plays an important role. The main characteristics of the Nîmes karst system leading to karst flash flooding are presented in this paper. A methodology comprising modelling of the karst system allowed proposing simple thresholds for various part of the karst (water level threshold for the karst conduits and cumulative rainfall threshold for the overflowing fissured karst). These thresholds can be included in the flash flood warning system of the Nîmes city.
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hal-00458983 , version 1 (22-02-2010)



Jean-Christophe Maréchal, Bernard Ladouche, Nathalie Dörfliger. Karst flash flood in a Mediterranean karst, the case of Fontaine de Nîmes. Engineering Geology, 2008, 99 (3), pp.138-146. ⟨10.1016/j.enggeo.2007.11.013⟩. ⟨hal-00458983⟩


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