A compact field fluorometer and its application to dye tracing in karst environments

Amael Poulain, Gaëtan Rochez, Jean-Pierre Van Roy, Lorraine Dewaide, Vincent Hallet, Geert De Sadelaer

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Dye tracing is a classic technique in hydrogeology to investigate surface-water or groundwater flow characteristics, and it is useful for many applications including natural or industrial issues. The Fluo-Green field fluorometer has been successfully tested in a karst environment and is specifically suitable for in-cave karst water monitoring. Karst research often uses dyes to obtain information about groundwater flow in unexplored cave passages. The compact device, alternatively named Fluo-G, meets the requirements of cave media: small (10 × 16 × 21 cm), lightweight (0.75 kg without ballast) and simple in conception. It is easy for cavers to set up and handle compared to other sampling methods. The fluorometer records uranine, turbidity and temperature with a user-defined time-step (1 min – 1 day). Very low energy consumption allows 9,000 measurements with six AA batteries. The device was calibrated and tested in the laboratory and in field conditions in Belgian karst systems. Results are in good fit with other sampling methods: in-situ fluorometers and automatic water sampling plus laboratory analysis. Recording high quality data (breakthrough curves) in karst with in-cave monitoring is valuable to improve knowledge of karst systems. Many hydrological and hydrogeological applications can benefit from such a low-cost and compact device, and finding the best compromise between resources and quality data is essential. Several improvements are possible but preliminary field tests are very promising.
Translated title of the contributionUn fluorimètre de terrain compact et son application pour les essais de traçage en environnements karstiques
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1517-1524
Number of pages8
JournalHydrogeology Journal
Issue number5
Early online date20 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • Field technique
  • Fluorometer
  • Groundwater monitoring
  • Karst
  • Tracer tests


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