Groundwater resources and vulnerability in the Cretaceous Chalk of Northern Ireland
S. Barnes, 2000. "Groundwater resources and vulnerability in the Cretaceous Chalk of Northern Ireland", Groundwater in the Celtic Regions: Studies in Hard Rock and Quaternary Hydrogeology, N. S. Robins, B. D. R. Misstear
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A confined Cretaceous Chalk aquifer underlies approximately one quarter of Northern Ireland, yet little is known about its groundwater resource potential. This issue has been addressed on the catchment scale by analysing spring discharge and hydrochemical fluctuations.
The Chalk springs are recharged by allogenic leakage and surface runoff from overlying Tertiary basalts. Sources connected to river-sinks show greater variation in flow and quality reflecting a much shorter residence time than those predominantly derived from the diffuse recharge. Discharge from the confined region becomes proportionally significant during prolonged dry spells, but is typically a minor component compared with groundwater circulation volumes in the unconfined region.
Spring flood recessions are rapid (recession coefficients up to 0.125 per day) and suggest that the Chalk has a high hydraulic conductivity and a low storage capacity. These characteristics together, with the essentially impermeable matrix, are consistent with an aquifer dominated by a dispersed fracture network.
Conceptual aquifer classification suggests that the outcrop region is a highly sensitive karst aquifer. The subcrop areas can only be exploited via boreholes and are likely to be less productive, although the water quality has been shown to be more stable and less vulnerable to contamination.
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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.