Abstract

The South Wales Coalfield is structurally and lithologically complex. Attempts to understand the regional groundwater flow system have been largely piecemeal, focusing on single collieries or groups of collieries. Inspection of both historical data, gathered during the active mine dewatering phase of the coalfield, and of contemporary post-mining groundwater rebound data, allows a picture of the whole groundwater flow system to be derived, along with the regional water balance. The assessment is aided by application of a 3D visualization model of the geological framework, which includes the piezometry during and after the mining phase and pumping and yield data. Other valuable historical information, which can no longer be replicated, are the analyses of samples of groundwater that entered working mines from specified horizons, rather than present-day analyses of acid mine drainage. It is found that there is little deep regional groundwater flow across the basin, for example towards the sea, and most groundwater flow is of river catchment scale draining to the main rivers that traverse the coalfield. This analysis of the coalfield and the 3D model provide a foundation for future investigation into issues such as dewatering of new opencast pits, in situ gasification or anthracite mining.

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