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The Guianese paradox: How can the freshwater outflow from the Amazon increase the salinity of the Guianan shore?

Lambs, Luc and Muller, Etienne and Fromard, François The Guianese paradox: How can the freshwater outflow from the Amazon increase the salinity of the Guianan shore? (2007) Journal of Hydrology, 342 (1-2). 88-96. ISSN 0022-1694

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2007.05.022


French Guiana is notable for the extent of its rain forests, which occupy 97% of the country, and the influence of the Amazon along its shores. In fact, the shores and estuaries support a mangrove forest typical of saline conditions. This paper reports the chemical characteristics, conductivity and salinity and the stable isotopes (oxygen and deuterium) of the rivers and shores between the Cayenne area and the border with Surinam. The results show a quite homogenous freshwater pool over the country. However, the low slope of the coast, a result of the wide mud banks deposited by the Amazonian plume, have turned the mouths of the smaller rivers to the northwest, creating large salty areas where mangroves grow several kilometers inland. Despite the large amount of Amazonian water, the Guianan coast exhibits high salinity. In fact, the freshwater itself remains far from the shore, following the north Brazilian current, while only the mud plume arrives at the coast, creating this paradox.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Thanks to Elsevier editor. The definitive version is available at http://www.sciencedirect.com The original PDF of the article can be found at Journal of Hydrology website : http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00221694
HAL Id:hal-03591313
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
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Institution:Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - UT3 (FRANCE)
French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
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Deposited On:31 Mar 2011 13:04

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