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The hydrochemistry of a Chalk aquifer during recovery from drought

W. G. Darling, D. C. Gooddy, B. L. Morris and D. W. Peach
The hydrochemistry of a Chalk aquifer during recovery from drought
Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology (November 2012) 45 (4): 473-486


Chalk groundwater levels typically decline markedly in response to drought, and rebound strongly when the drought breaks. Chalk streams, largely groundwater-fed, are of ecological importance but little research has been conducted on possible water-quality effects accompanying fluctuations in groundwater level. This study monitored springs, boreholes and surface water in the Pang and Lambourn catchments in southern England during a major recovery in 2006-2008. Hydrochemistry, stable isotopes and age indicators were used to characterize the waters. Perennial springs showed little change in water quality over the monitoring period, and even seasonal springs soon became consistent in their hydrochemistry. A similar lack of change was observed in borehole waters and in the River Lambourn. Stable isotopes demonstrated the high degree of damping relative to rainfall inputs, and residence time indicators showed that Chalk groundwater is basically a mixture with an "old" (pre-1950s) component of > or =50%. This being the case, any water quality changes owing to water level fluctuations would inevitably become diluted. Therefore, although future climate predictions for southern Britain include greater extremes in rainfall and temperature, and consequently water level changes of greater amplitude, the buffering effect of the Chalk aquifer should protect the quality of Chalk springs and streams.

ISSN: 1470-9236
EISSN: 2041-4803
Serial Title: Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology
Serial Volume: 45
Serial Issue: 4
Title: The hydrochemistry of a Chalk aquifer during recovery from drought
Affiliation: British Geological Survey, Wallingford, United Kingdom
Pages: 473-486
Published: 201211
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of London, London, United Kingdom
References: 47
Accession Number: 2013-004100
Categories: HydrogeologyHydrochemistry
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. geol. sketch map
N51°19'60" - N51°45'00", W01°40'00" - W00°30'00"
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2018, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data from The Geological Society, London, London, United Kingdom
Update Code: 201303
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