Groundwater in headwaters: hydrological and ecological significance
C. Soulsby, R. Malcolm, I. Malcolm, 2000. "Groundwater in headwaters: hydrological and ecological significance", Groundwater in the Celtic Regions: Studies in Hard Rock and Quaternary Hydrogeology, N. S. Robins, B. D. R. Misstear
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The hydrological and ecological significance of groundwater has generally been under-estimated in headwater catchment studies within the Celtic regions. The paper presents data from headwater catchments in both upland and lowland settings in northern Scotland to address this gap in our understanding. Research in the 10 km2 Allt a’ Mharcaidh catchment in the western Cairngorms has demonstrated that a range of groundwater sources in various drift deposits can account for c. 50% of annual runoff, even in a high altitude headwater stream. Despite the traditional assumption that upland catchments have limited aquifer storage, oxygen isotope studies of groundwater imply mean water residence times of up to five years which indicate a range of groundwater sources in montane environments. Moreover, hydrogeochemical reactions in the saturated zone appear to regulate stream water chemistry at moderate and low flows. In such montane environments, groundwater discharges at springs create unique wetland habitats which often form the source of headwater streams and affect riparian areas. In lowland catchments the hydrological significance of groundwater is equally important. In addition, recent studies in a salmon spawning stream in the Newmills Burn, Aberdeenshire has shown that aquifer-stream interactions in hyporheic zones are crucial in maintaining habitat conditions conducive to the survival of salmonid eggs, and the subsequent population of salmon streams. It is concluded that interdisciplinary studies incorporating hydrogeological investigations are fundamental to a proper understanding of the hydrology and functional ecology of catchment systems in the Celtic regions.
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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.