Paper No. 92-9
Presentation Time: 10:45 AM
REGIONAL AQUIFER MONITORING NETWORK IN THE COASTAL KARST OF THE YUCATAN PENINSULA USING CAVE PEARL PROJECT OPEN-SOURCE HARDWARE, WITH COMPARISON TO COMMERCIAL INSTRUMENTAL RECORDS
The Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula hosts the greatest extent of explored flooded caves in the world, and has proven to be a preeminent locale for the study of coastal carbonate aquifer hydrodynamics and response to changing boundary conditions. Efforts to instrument the flooded caves in 2000-2002 relied principally on oceanographic instruments, that featured high acquisition cost, high operational cost due to 3 month battery life and a high failure rate. In addition, some of these instruments were also hazardous to maneuver through the flooded caves using lift bags. The Cave Pearl Project is now developing a range of environmental instruments in compact and robust environmental housings using open source Arduino hardware powered by AA batteries. An inexpensive high-resolution regional scale aquifer monitoring network is now being established, including flow meters to depths of 25 m, water and barometric pressure sensors, temperature strings, vadose drip and rain sensors, and relative humidity. With 30+ deployments currently in the field, this talk will discuss data quality, development costs, and overall reliability by comparing these self-built instruments with prior commercial instruments deployed in the same locations.