Fais Island, which lies about 200 km east of Yap, Federated States of Micronesia, in the Caroline Islands of the Western Pacific Ocean, is a small uplifted carbonate platform. Modern fresh water lens discharge is concentrated where high-relief cliffs extend seaward beyond the beach and reef flats. Fresh water flow from the beaches and reef flats is small to insignificant. Flank margin caves are also concentrated in these headlands and are conspicuously absent in the vertical cliffs inland of beach and reef flat areas. The original porosity in the pre-Holocene carbonate rocks of Fais has been rearranged into high-permeability flow
systems by repeated exposure to the fresh water lens. The older headlands that extend past the lower permeability beaches and reef flats, conduct water from the lens to the sea. At the same time, flank margin cave development between headlands was diminished by the lack of fresh water lens discharge in those areas. A large closed-contour depression containing a fresh water pool looks at first sight like a sinkhole, but is in fact, an ancient well dug into terraced Holocene sands that infill a reentrant in a paleo-sea cliff. The low relative permeability of these sands creates a more substantial fresh water lens than is available elsewhere on the island.
Fresh-water lens anisotropy and flank margin cave development, Fais Island, FSM
- Written by News Manager