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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Hydrogeological Environments and Characterisation (PGGE11278)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course develops the students understanding of hydrogeological environments, recognising how different geological settings influence subsurface flow characteristics. The course provides a practical introduction to the main characterisation and analysis techniques, with an emphasis on applying current concepts, methods and technologies for ground water resource assessment in the context of different applied problems.
Course description Hydrogeologists study the subsurface flow of water and its interaction with the surrounding geology and applying this understanding to practical uses such as wells for drinking water, pollution monitoring and clean-up and harnessing geothermal energy. They are at the forefront of many of today┬┐s important issues including sustainable water supply, food, and energy production, environmental protection and climate change.

The course lectures develop the student's knowledge base with advancing concepts that are supported by practical field sessions, laboratory tests, analysis, and report writing aimed at developing technical, interpretation, and reporting skills and encourage critical thinking. Integration of the concepts developed in the taught program is facilitated through student-centred investigations of current issues linked to a range of hydrogeological environments. The students will develop a sound understanding of the geological controls on groundwater hydraulics, to a range of laboratory and field tests to characterise the hydrogeological environments within the subsurface.
Course outline:
WK1: Fluid Flow in Aquifers and Aquicludes (KE). The students learn to identify what type of aquifer or aquitard is present and evaluate the key flow characteristics. The lecture content will include how to characterise a porous aquifer and a fractured porous aquifer; What key features control the flow of fluid and distribution of contamination. The lecture content is supported by a field trip to Roslyn to study the influence of geology on flow through the subsurface.

WK2: Applied Groundwater Hydrochemistry. The students learn to identify the geochemistry and reactivity within the hydrological system. The lecture content will include what makes water unique and groundwater Chemistry. The lecture content is supported by a field trip to undertake field water sampling.

WK3: Applied Groundwater Hydrochemistry. The lecture content covers: Silicon, Sulphate and Acid Minewater Drainage; Cation Exchange Capacity; Organic Pollutants NAPLS; Organic Pollutants DNAPLS and emerging Contaminants (Microplastics and the rest). The lecture content will be supplemented by the field trip data plotting and trend analysis.

WK4: Hydrogeological Environments. The students will understand, interpret and evaluate a wide range of different geological scenarios and environments and relate these geological and sedimentological controls to groundwater flow and chemistry. The lecture content will cover unconsolidated aquifers, Consolidated Sedimentary rock aquifers, Volcanic aquifers and locality specific aquifers. The lecture content will be supported by rock and pore network investigations using hand specimens and optical microscopy exercises.

WK5: Groundwater in the field. The lecture content will cover heterogeneity and how it influences flow; how it can be measured in the field: wireline logging and representative elemental volumes statistical measurements of heterogeneity. The lecture content will be supported by core logging and wireline logs interpretation exercises.

WK6: Industrial Legacy (Coal, Shale, Ironstone, Mineral). The students will evaluate the impact of our industrial legacy on groundwater resources. The lecture content will include an overview of mining, the Hydrogeology of Mined Systems, mine water chemistry & environmental Impact and the remediation of mine water. The lectures will be supplemented by guest lectures from experts in mine water and may include talks on the impact of Mining on Hydrogeology or the impact of Coal and Mineral Mining on a Scottish Catchment area

WK7: Urban-Hydrogeology. The students will evaluate the impact of the urban environment on the hydrogeology. The lecture content will include an overview of urban hydrogeology, introduce conceptual models, impacts and management of urban water. The lecture content will be supplemented by a guest lecture on Urban-Hydrogeology

WK8: Fresh Water - Saline Water Relationship. The students will appraise the dynamic freshwater / marine hydrological environment. The lecture content will include an overview of the fresh-saline water relationships, hydro-chemical processes, predicting and mitigating saline intrusion and present a range of case Studies. The lecture content will be supplemented by a guest lecture on the fresh water - saline water relationship

WK9: Catchment hydrology. This will be delivered through two guest lectures.

WK10: Guest lectures on (i) Isotopes and Noble Gases as Natural Groundwater Tracers and (ii) Groundwater in Scotland.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Applied Hydrogeology and Near Surface Geophysics (EASC10101) OR Hydrogeology 1: Applied Hydrogeology (EASC10082)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements If students wish to enrol, but do not have the recommended pre-requisite, they MUST speak to the Course Organiser for approval before enrolling.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesBasic knowledge of geology and maths to satisfaction of CO
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework 100%
The coursework assessment consists of two components:

1. Completed HEC Hydrogeology synoptic practical (50% of the total coursework assessment). Due week 11.

2. A 3500-word (excluding figure captions and references) hydrogeology assessment report, (50% of the total coursework assessment) from a choice of two topics (Pick ONLY one from A or B):

(A) Provide a report on how geology influences the Scottish Groundwater Characteristics.
(B) How does Scotland's unique industrial legacy impact hydrogeology today?

Due in December

See LEARN page under Assessment + Feedback then Assignment Submission.
Feedback Opportunities for feedback are continuous throughout the course, during the practical/tutorial sessions when the lecturer and tutors are available to assist with the HEC Hydrogeology synoptic practical. Students can ask for verbal feedback weekly throughout the course informally. This provides students with ongoing opportunities to consolidate their learning and provide continuous in-class feedback and the provision of in-class support to provide clarification if required.

Informal class discussions will be included within the course, teaching allowing both the exchange of ideas, and feedback on knowledge levels and on the presentation ideas.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Predict the key flow characteristics within aquifers or aquitards.
  2. Evaluate different geological settings and scenarios and relate these to ground water flow characteristics.
  3. Appraise the relationships between aquifer permeability and heterogeneity and design appropriate field sampling techniques.
  4. Recognise and appraise the most suitable characterisation techniques to evaluate subsurface fluid flow in different hydrogeological environments in the context of different applied problems.
  5. Prepare a hydrogeology assessment report to industry standard guidelines.
Reading List
Freeze, R.A. and Cherry, J.A. Groundwater

Fetter, C.W. Applied Hydrogeology

Weight, W.D. Practical Hydrogeology: Principles and Field Applications

Singhal, B.B.S and Gupta, R.P. Applied hydrogeology of fractured rocks.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course will equip our graduates with a wide range of skills including;

A good level of mathematical, analytical and modelling skills.

Problem solving and practical hands on skills.

Capacity to evaluate complex data and to extrapolate conclusions from incomplete data.

Critical and reflective thinkers, some subsurface technologies are controversial, all require expert knowledge to assess independently.

Organised with good project management skills and a flexible approach to work.

Skilled communicators, both oral and written

Ability to work well within a team
Course organiserDr Katriona Edlmann
Tel: (0131 6)50 7339
Course secretaryMrs Lauren Blackman
Tel: (0131 6)50 2624
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