Our perception of our environment and the ways in which it varies and evolves through time depends very much on our daily priorities. Geologists are happy to think about eras of millions of years, hydrogeologists routinely consider thousand year periods, historians are concerned with centuries, and human consciousness exists over a period of between six months and a hundred years: three generations generally mark the limit of our collective memory and understanding of our lives. Interaction between man and the environment may lead to conflict, precisely because of the different time scales over which natural phenomena and human society exist. In hydrogeological terms, groundwater reserves which have taken centuries or millennia to accumulate can all but disappear within a few years due to over-abstraction, while groundwater pollution which can occur in minutes or hours (such as an accidental spillage of petrol or industrial chemicals on permeable ground) can take many years or even decades to remediate.
Our use of groundwater is not only a modern phenomenon. There is a wealth of evidence that groundwater has been important in the Celtic regions for many thousands of years. Various Celtic societies have occupied large, though decreasing, areas of Western Europe since at least the eighth century BC: the few groups existing today on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean are only the remnants of a much larger prehistorical culture. The long history of European Celticity has left a legacy of place names and words associated with the earlier Celtic culture. Many of
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Groundwater in the Celtic Regions: Studies in Hard Rock and Quaternary Hydrogeology
This book covers a diverse range of hydrogeological environments that occur in the Celtic regions of Britain and Ireland. These include hard rock aquifers of Lower Palaeozoic and Precambrian age, generally dominated by fracture flow within a shallow zone of weathering; Carboniferous Limestone aquifers, often characterized by conduit flows in karstic systems; dual-porosity Permo-Triassic sandstone aquifers; and Quaternary deposits, many of which form shallow granular aquifers. The papers presented here address a number of current issues common to the Celtic regions, including: groundwater protection policies, groundwater management in karst aquifers, groundwater development in Quaternary aquifers, groundwater evaluation in data-scarce aquifers and groundwater supplies to small island communities.