Monday, July 20, 2009

Does groundwater respond to solar eclipse?

In the year 1980, during the total solar eclipse I conducted some experiments in the unconfined aquifer of Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal, India. The study was conducted in open dug well of depth of about 10 metres. Depth to water level measurements started one our before the start of the eclipse and completed after one our after the end of the eclipse. Water level had actually risen by 15 to 16 centimeters during the peak of the eclipse. Though the total eclipse was not visible at Jalpaiguri the groundwater appeared to respond to this astronomical phenomenon.

In the year 1995 there was another total eclipse, which was visible from South 24 Parganas of West Bengal. I along with my colleagues of SWID selected one observation station at Falta where we desired to take water level measurements from very deep and moderately deep tube wells. We started taking measurements at 5 minutes interval from the wells using metallic tapes. We observed the rise of water level during the eclipse and found that the maximum water level rise was achieved at the time of totality. What was actually remarkable that the water level of deeper well rose by 34 cm whereas in the shallower well water level rose by 10 centimetres only.

This year on 22nd July the members of JCSES are going to conduct similar experiments in Jalpaiguri district. They will conduct water level measurements from dug wells for 24 hours starting from 21st July evening.

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