Hydrogeology and Groundwater

Module aims

  • To provide a foundation in analytical groundwater as a basis for understanding groundwater behaviour and management. This involves understanding groundwater flow and storage in terms of physical principles and mathematical representations.
  • To show how physical measurements and tests can be undertaken to evaluate groundwater flow, aquifer hydraulic properties and well yield.
  • To show the importance of groundwater quality.

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing this course unit, students will be able to: 

  • To understand the basic principles of groundwater flow and how this can be determined in the field and analysed using models, which are conditioned on field test data and the importance of groundwater as a resource and the need to protect it, both in terms of quantity and quality.

Module syllabus

  • Introduction – Groundwater occurrence & distribution, role in hydrological cycle. Basic terminology – groundwater column.
  • Geology and hydrogeology – rocks, geological formations, aquifers.
  • Groundwater hydraulics – Darcy's law – How groundwater moves through rocks, basic law of groundwater flow.
  • Steady-state groundwater flow - Use of mass balance to develop continuity equation.
  • Aquifer stress & groundwater storage - Ability of rocks to yield water.
  • Transient groundwater flow – Time-dependent changes in groundwater flow.
  • Pumping tests - Methods for obtaining aquifer parameters and testing yield of wells.
  • Groundwater quality – Natural processes affecting groundwater quality.
  • Case studies of groundwater systems.

No.

Topic

Staff

01

Introduction – Groundwater occurrence & distribution, role in hydrological cycle. Basic terminology - groundwater column.

APB

02

Groundwater hydraulics – How groundwater moves through rocks, basic law of groundwater flow (Darcy's law).

APB

Field Trip

Practical hydrogeology session at field site in Berkshire.

APB/DP

03

Geology and hydrogeology – rocks, geological formations, aquifers.

DP

04

Steady-state groundwater flow – Use of mass balance to develop continuity equation.

APB

05

Aquifer stress & groundwater storage – Ability of rocks to yield water.

APB

06

Transient groundwater flow – Time-dependent changes in groundwater flow.

APB

07

Pumping tests – Methods for obtaining aquifer parameters and testing yield of wells.

APB

08

Groundwater quality – Natural processes affecting groundwater quality.

APB

09

Hydrogeological applications & case studies.

DP

Teaching methods

18 hours of lectures and tutorials over 9 sessions, with accompanying problem sheets. In addition, there will be a field practical at a site in Berkshire, which will be run by Denis Peach, a visiting Professor in the Department.

Assessments

By examination and a piece of coursework based on the field practical.

Reading list

Core

Supplementary

Module leaders

Dr Adrian Butler