Browsing by Author "Hankin, SI"
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- ItemAccumulative evidence highlighting that the Narrabri and Gunnedah formations are mythical(National Centre for Groundwater Research And Training, 2017-07-12) Kelly, BFJ; Cendón, DI; Iverach, CP; Harris, SJ; Hankin, SIThe Narrabri and Gunnedah Formations, used to describe the valley-filling sedimentary sequences in portions of the Murray-Darling Basin, have never been formally defined. The hydrogeological evidence for naming these formations is reviewed in the context of modern sedimentary models. Are we using the right architectural model? Hundreds of lithological logs from the Murrumbidgee, Namoi, and Gwydir catchments are used to examine the evolution of each alluvial aquifer. For each depth interval, the catchment-wide proportions of coarse (gravel, sand) and fine (silt, clay) sediments is determined. Sediment size distributions are then examined in the context of past climates and the conceptual inland fluvial model for distributive fluvial systems. Vertical hydraulic connectivity is examined using new hydrogeochemical data and nested groundwater hydrograph sets. All systems show the core features of aggradational distributive fluvial systems. The valley-filling sequences for all catchments examined transitioned from high energy wet environments at depth, dominated by sand and gravel deposits, through to the modern-day low-energy silt and clay dominated depositional environments. Gravel and sand deposits dominate in the proximal portion of the catchment, and low energy silt and clay deposits dominate in the distal portions. The apparent existence of the Narrabri and Gunnedah Formations is due to changing sediment grain size proportion and channel fill sand connectivity. Both the facies and hydrograph analyses show that semi-confining layers are only local. Extensive hydrogeochemical data from the Namoi catchment show continuity of mixing between basement and surface inflows. All catchments have many sedimentary architectural features consistent with the distributive fluvial system model, and reflect changing climate throughout the Neogene and Quaternary. Use of the Narrabri and Gunnedah Formation nomenclature, which has been incorporated into the National Aquifer Framework, is not supported by either the sedimentological, hydrograph or hydrogeochemical record.
- Item‘Age’, recharge rates and connectivity of groundwater in deeper aquifers of the Sydney Basin(Geological Society of Australia, 2014-07-07) Kermode, SJ; Cendón, DI; Hankin, SI; Russell, GThe Permo-Triassic Sydney Basin covers almost 50 000 km2 and extends from the outer continental shelf inland to the Great Diving Range, from Newcastle in the north to Batemans Bay in the south. Major lithological units broadly include the Permian Coal Measures, the Permo-Triassic Narrabeen Group, the Triassic Hawkesbury Sandstone and the Wianamatta Shale. The Hawkesbury Sandstone is generally made of very thick heavily compacted quartz sands, with minor discontinuous shale units. Its aquifer system is a complex, dual porosity, deep fractured system with three aquifers typically recognised. The shallow and intermediate aquifers contribute to spring and base stream flows as well as groundwater dependent ecosystems, and the deep regional aquifer system. It is this deeper system that is investigated in this study. Groundwater from the Sydney Basin, and in particular Hawkesbury Sandstone aquifers, forms part of emergency supply strategies for coping with future severe droughts, with >5 million people living in the region, in addition to large industrial development. Despite the significance of these resources there are still large gaps in our knowledge of these aquifers including aspects such as age recharge and mixing rates. Filling these knowledge gaps has become even more critical in order to understand impacts of existing and planned coal and coal seam gas (CSG) mining of the underlying Illawarra Coal Measures. Community concerns over risks associated with CSG extraction have reached fever pitch in recent years, and there is public demand for research into these aquifers. Understanding of these systems has been complicated by the poor quality of existing data – commonly relying solely on driller bore-logs, reporting only being carried out for specific mine or extraction activities, and therefore conducted over localised zones, and the lack of communication between companies and agencies with data. Additionally, large variations in hydraulic properties have been noted over localised areas. This study sampled bores along a loosely east–west transect across urban Sydney, targeting the deeper Hawkesbury Sandstone and Narrabeen group aquifers. Very high salinities are recorded by several samples, interpreted to relate to the influence of the overlying Wianamatta Group and Cumberland Basin sediments in those locations. Equally however, this signal may record the impact of interaction with coal seams. Results also show inconsistencies between tritium and radiocarbon groundwater ‘ages’ in multiple locations, suggesting that extensive mixing occurs between aquifers. A relationship between bicarbonate, depth and δ 13C isotopic ratios highlights the influence of methanogenesis for deeper samples and either interaction with localised organic matter or deeper inputs derived from the coal measures. These findings have implications for potential coals seam gas extraction in the region, demonstrating that impacts could be significant in areas of high fracturing and connectivity. This supports previous assessments of groundwater vulnerability and the need for further detailed research. © Geological Society of Australia Inc
- ItemAssessing connectivity between an overlying aquifer and a coal seam gas resource using methane isotopes, dissolved organic carbon and tritium(National Centre for Groundwater Research And Training, 2015-11-03) Iverach, CP; Cendón, DI; Hankin, SI; Lowry, D; Fisher, RE; France, JL; Nisbet, EG; Baker, AA; Kelly, BFJCoal seam gas (CSG) production can have an impact on groundwater quality and quantity in adjacent or overlying aquifers. To assess this impact we need to determine the background groundwater chemistry and to map geological pathways of hydraulic connectivity between aquifers. In south-east Queensland (Qld), Australia, a globally important CSG exploration and production province, we mapped hydraulic connectivity between the Walloon Coal Measures (WCM, the target formation for gas production) and the overlying Condamine River Alluvial Aquifer (CRAA), using groundwater methane (CH4) concentration and isotopic composition (δ13C-CH4), groundwater tritium (3H) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration. A continuous mobile CH4 survey adjacent to CSG developments was used to determine the source signature of CH4 derived from the WCM. Trends in groundwater δ13C-CH4 versus CH4 concentration, in association with DOC concentration and 3H analysis, identify locations where CH4 in the groundwater of the CRAA most likely originates from the WCM. The methodology is widely applicable in unconventional gas development regions worldwide for providing an early indicator of geological pathways of hydraulic connectivity. © The Authors.
- ItemAssessing connectivity between an overlying aquifer and a coal seam gas resource using methane isotopes, dissolved organic carbon and tritium(Nature, 2015-11-04) Iverach, CP; Cendón, DI; Hankin, SI; Lowry, D; Fisher, RE; France, JL; Nisbet, EG; Baker, AA; Kelly, BFJCoal seam gas (CSG) production can have an impact on groundwater quality and quantity in adjacent or overlying aquifers. To assess this impact we need to determine the background groundwater chemistry and to map geological pathways of hydraulic connectivity between aquifers. In south-east Queensland (Qld), Australia, a globally important CSG exploration and production province, we mapped hydraulic connectivity between the Walloon Coal Measures (WCM, the target formation for gas production) and the overlying Condamine River Alluvial Aquifer (CRAA), using groundwater methane (CH4) concentration and isotopic composition (δ13C-CH4), groundwater tritium (3H) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration. A continuous mobile CH4 survey adjacent to CSG developments was used to determine the source signature of CH4 derived from the WCM. Trends in groundwater δ13C-CH4 versus CH4 concentration, in association with DOC concentration and 3H analysis, identify locations where CH4 in the groundwater of the CRAA most likely originates from the WCM. The methodology is widely applicable in unconventional gas development regions worldwide for providing an early indicator of geological pathways of hydraulic connectivity. © The Authors. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons licence, users will need to obtain permission from the licence holder to reproduce the material.
- ItemAssessing the hydraulic connection between fresh water aquifers and unconventional gas production using methane and stable isotopes(European Geosciences Union, 2015-04-12) Iverach, CP; Cendón, DI; Hankin, SI; Lowry, D; Fisher, RE; France, JL; Nisbet, EG; Baker, AA; Kelly, BFJUnconventional gas developments pose a risk to groundwater quality and quantity in adjacent or overlying aquifers. To manage these risks there is a need to measure the background concentration of indicator groundwater chemicals and to map pathways of hydraulic connectivity between aquifers. This study presents methane (CH4) concentration and isotopic composition, dissolved organic carbon concentration ([DOC]) and tritium (3H) activity data from an area of expanding coal seam gas (CSG) exploration and production (Condamine Catchment, south-east Queensland, Australia). The target formation for gas production within the Condamine Catchment is the Walloon Coal Measures (WCM). This is a 700 m thick, low-rank CSG resource, which consists of numerous thin discontinuous lenses of coal separated by very fine-to medium-grained sandstone, siltstone, and mudstone, with minor calcareous sandstone, impure limestone and ironstone. The thickness of the coal makes up less than 10% of the total thickness of the unit. The WCM are overlain by sandstone formations, which form part of the Great Artesian Basin (GAB). The Condamine Alluvium fills a paleo-valley carved through the above formations. A combination of groundwater and degassing air samples were collected from irrigation bores and government groundwater monitoring boreholes. Degassing air samples were collected using an SKC 222-2301 air pump, which pumped the gas into 3 L Tedlar bags. The groundwater was analysed for 3H and [DOC]. A mobile CH4 survey was undertaken to continuously sample air in and around areas of agricultural and unconventional gas production. The isotopic signature of gas from the WCM was determined by sampling gas that was off-gassing from a co-produced water holding pond as it was the largest emission that could be directly linked to the WCM. This was used to determine the source signature of the CH4 from the WCM. We used Keeling plots to identify the source signature of the gas sampled. For the borehole samples these plots assume that there are only two sources of CH4, each with a unique isotopic signature. When the two sources mix in varying proportions they will plot along a straight line in the Keeling plot. Geometric mean displacement was used to fit a regression line and determine the intercept value. Within the Keeling plot, samples clustered according to their 3H and [DOC] values. One cluster is associated with near surface biological processes, while the other cluster can be attributed to gas sourced from the WCM. This indicates that in places there is hydraulic connectivity between the WCM and the overlying Condamine Alluvium. The results from this case study demonstrate that measuring 3H activity, [DOC] and CH4 concentrations in combination with CH4 isotopic analysis can provide an early indicator of hydraulic connectivity in areas of expanding unconventional gas development. © Author(s) 2015. CC Attribution 3.0 License.
- ItemAssessment of radionuclide distributions at an Australian legacy radioactive waste site(South Pacific Radioactivity Association, 2010-09-01) Payne, TE; Cendón, DI; Collins, RN; Dore, M; Hankin, SI; Harrison, JJ; Hughes, CE; Johansen, MP; Thiruvoth, S; Twining, JR; Wilsher, KLDuring the 1960s, low level radioactive waste was buried in shallow trenches at a disposal site in south-eastern Australia, known as the Little Forest Burial Ground. This paper discusses preliminary findings of research into the distribution of radionuclides at the site, including soils, groundwater and biota. In particular, we are studying the mobility of radionuclides; and their uptake by plants, insects and small animals. Groundwater monitoring indicates that there has been limited movement of radioactivity, other than a tritium plume that extends at least 100 m. The tritium results are being used to define the groundwater flowpaths, and the effects of seasonal and climatic factors. The pattern of tritium distribution suggests that the source of tritium is predominantly within the waste materials. However, tritium derived from a nearby municipal landfill contributes to tritium concentrations in some groundwaters, with smaller amounts from cosmogenic tritium and atmospheric deposition originating from the nearby HIFAR reactor (shut down in 2007). The tritium data provide a record of water movement against which the relative mobility of other radionuclides can be assessed. There are measurable amounts of 60Co, 90Sr, 137Cs and traces of actinides in some soils, groundwater and vegetation samples taken in close proximity to the disposal area. Isotopic ratios such as δ13C, δ180, δ2H, δ34S and 87Sr/86Sr are being measured in groundwater, in addition to the radioactive isotopes originating from the disposed wastes. Synchrotron EXAFS and XANES studies are being applied to study elemental chemical environments and oxidation states in the soils at the site. We have recently undertaken a major geophysical investigation and drilling program; and installation of an improved array of water sampling boreholes is planned. Therefore, many more samples of groundwater and soils are becoming available for analysis.
- ItemAssessment of radionuclide movement at an Australian legacy radioactive waste site(EMSL, 2009-09-20) Payne, TE; Cendón, DI; Collins, RN; Hankin, SI; Harrison, JJ; Hughes, CE; Johansen, MP; Twining, JR; Waite, TDNot available
- ItemAssessment of the aquifers in the West Canning Basin-Pardoo - application of isotopic and hydrogeochemical techniques(Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, 2014-01) Meredith, KT; Cendón, DI; Hankin, SI; Peterson, MA; Hollins, SE
- ItemBiotic, temporal and spatial variability of tritium concentrations in transpirate samples collected in the vicinity of a near-surface low-level nuclear waste disposal site and nearby research reactor(Elsevier Science Ltd, 2011-06-01) Twining, JR; Hughes, CE; Harrison, JJ; Hankin, SI; Crawford, J; Johansen, MP; Dyer, LLThe results of a 21 month sampling program measuring tritium in tree transpirate with respect to local sources are reported. The aim was to assess the potential of tree transpirate to indicate the presence of sub-surface seepage plumes. Transpirate gathered from trees near low-level nuclear waste disposal trenches contained activity concentrations of (3)H that were significantly higher (up to similar to 700 Bq L(-1)) than local background levels (0-10 Bq L(-1)). The effects of the waste source declined rapidly with distance to be at background levels within 10s of metres. A research reactor 1.6 km south of the site contributed significant (p < 0.01) local fallout (3)H but its influence did not reach as far as the disposal trenches. The elevated (3)H levels in transpirate were, however, substantially lower than groundwater concentrations measured across the site (ranging from 0 to 91% with a median of 2%). Temporal patterns of tree transpirate (3)H, together with local meteorological observations, indicate that soil water within the active root zones comprised a mixture of seepage and rainfall infiltration. The degree of mixing was variable given that the soil water activity concentrations were heterogeneous at a scale equivalent to the effective rooting volume of the trees. In addition, water taken up by roots was not well mixed within the trees. Based on correlation modelling, net rainfall less evaporation (a surrogate for infiltration) over a period of from 2 to 3 weeks prior to sampling seems to be the optimum predictor of transpirate (3)H variability for any sampled tree at this site. The results demonstrate successful use of (3)H in transpirate from trees to indicate the presence and general extent of sub-surface contamination at a low-level nuclear waste site. Crown Copyright © 2011, Elsevier Ltd.
- ItemThe canary or the coalmine? Isotopic evidence of drying climate versus groundwater outflow as the cause for recent losses from Thirlmere Lakes, NSW(National Centre for Groundwater Research And Training, & Australian Chapter International Association Of Hydrogeologists, 2019-11-24) Peterson, MA; Cendón, DI; Hughes, CE; Crawford, J; Hankin, SI; Krogh, M; Cowley, KL; Cohen, TJ; Andersen, MS; Anibas, C; Glamore, W; Chen, SY; Timms, W; McMillan, TThe Thirlmere Lakes Research Program (TLRP) is a collaboration investigating water loss mechanisms in recent drying of five adjacent lakes, located 75 km south-west of Sydney. Some stakeholders and previous studies have perceived a correlation with local longwall coal mining history and suspect deep fracture outflow. Others suggest the lakes are simply responding to a drier climate, serving as the canary in the broader climate-change ‘coal mine’. ANSTO has applied recurrent isotopic and chemical monitoring of the lakes and adjacent groundwater over two years to unravel some of the mystery of their recent water losses. Each lake behaved uniquely, but they shared some common trends. Steady enrichment of stable water isotopes, 2H and 18O, indicates the dominance of evaporation, with minimal losses to groundwater or through transpiration. Lake Cl/Br ratios were very low and clustered in three groups, two trending away from initial ratios indicative of groundwater input. 3H and 14C show recent rainfall and/or runoff as the main contributors to lake waters, with apparent ages in the adjacent shallow groundwater up to several decades. High levels of 222Rn from shallow bores suggest a close association between the peats enclosing the lakes and 238 U from ancient erosion, or proximity of an underlying shale lens. The only deep piezometer (72-84 m) near the lakes showed negligible contributions from the lakes or recent surface water. The trends in isotopic and chemical parameters infer that evaporation is sufficient to explain recent water losses from most of these perched lakes. Trends in some lakes hint that these had previous inputs from groundwater. While the historical variability of groundwater input to the lakes remains unknown, there is no current evidence of major losses to groundwater. Thirlmere Lakes will exist only intermittently under dry climate conditions. © The Authors
- ItemCave radon exposure, dose, dynamics and mitigation(National Speleological Society, 2021-03) Waring, CL; Hankin, SI; Solomon, SB; Long, S; Yule, A; Blackley, R; Werczynski, S; Baker, ACMany caves around the world have very high concentrations of naturally occurring 222Rn that may vary dramatically with seasonal and diurnal patterns. For most caves with a variable seasonal or diurnal pattern, 222Rn concentration is driven by bi-directional convective ventilation, which responds to external temperature contrast with cave temperature. Cavers and cave workers exposed to high 222Rn have an increased risk of contracting lung cancer. The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) has re-evaluated its estimates of lung cancer risk from inhalation of radon progeny (ICRP 115) and for cave workers the risk may now (ICRP 137) be 4–6 times higher than previously recognized. Cave Guides working underground in caves with annual average 222Rn activity > 1,000 Bq m⁻3 and default ICRP assumptions (2,000 workplace hours per year, equilibrium factor F ₌ 0.4, dose conversion factor DCF ₌ 14 µSv (kBq h m⁻3)⁻1 could now receive a dose of > 20 mSv y₋1 . Using multiple gas tracers (δ13C-CO2, Rn and N2O), linked weather, source gas flux chambers, and convective air flow measurements a previous study unequivocally identified the external soil above Chifley Cave as the source of cave 222Rn. If the source of 222Rn is external to the cave, a strategy to lower cave 222Rn by passively decreasing summer pattern convective ventilation, which draws 222Rn into caves, is possible without harming the cave environment. A small net annual average temperature difference (warmer cave air) due to geothermal heat flux produces a large net annual volumetric air flow bias (2–5:1) favoring a winter ventilation pattern that flushes Rn from caves with ambient air. Rapid anthropogenic climate change over decades may heat the average annual external temperature relative to the cave temperature that is stabilized by the thermal inertia of the large rock mass. Relative external temperature increases due to climate change (Jenolan Caves, 2008–2018, 0.17°C) reduces the winter pattern air flow bias and increases Rn concentration in caves. © The Authors
- ItemCharacterization of the subsurface architecture and identification of potential groundwater paths in a clay-rich floodplain using multi-electrode resistivity imaging(Taylor & Francis Group, 2018-04-18) Guinea, A; Hollins, SE; Meredith, KT; Hankin, SI; Cendón, DIThe interaction between surface water and groundwater in clay-rich fluvial environments can be complex and is generally poorly understood. Airborne electromagnetic surveys are often used for characterizing regional groundwater systems, but they are constrained by the resolution of the method. A resistivity imaging survey has been carried out in the Macquarie Marshes (New South Wales, Australia) in combination with water chemical sampling. The results have enabled the identification of buried palaeochannels and the location of potential recharge points. The data have been compared with previously published airborne electromagnetic data in the same area. Deeper less conductive features suggest that there is a potential connection between the Great Artesian Basin and groundwater contained within the shallow sand aquifer. Even though the chemistry of the groundwater samples does not indicate interaction with the Great Artesian Basin, the observed discontinuity in the saprolite implies potential for this to happen in other locations. The interaction between surface water and groundwater in clay-rich fluvial environments can be complex and is generally poorly understood. Airborne electromagnetic surveys are often used for characterizing regional groundwater systems, but they are constrained by the resolution of the method. A resistivity imaging survey has been carried out in the Macquarie Marshes (New South Wales, Australia) in combination with water chemical sampling. The results have enabled the identification of buried palaeochannels and the location of potential recharge points. The data have been compared with previously published airborne electromagnetic data in the same area. Deeper less conductive features suggest that there is a potential connection between the Great Artesian Basin and groundwater contained within the shallow sand aquifer. Even though the chemistry of the groundwater samples does not indicate interaction with the Great Artesian Basin, the observed discontinuity in the saprolite implies potential for this to happen in other locations. © 2018 International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS)
- ItemChemical characterisation and source identification of atmospheric aerosols in the Snowy Mountains, south-eastern Australia(Elsevier, 2018-07-15) Tadros, CV; Crawford, J; Treble, PC; Baker, AA; Cohen, DD; Atanacio, AJ; Hankin, SI; Roach, RCharacterisation of atmospheric aerosols is of major importance for: climate, the hydrological cycle, human health and policymaking, biogeochemical and palaeo-climatological studies. In this study, the chemical composition and source apportionment of PM2.5 (particulate matter with aerodynamic diameters less than 2.5 μm) at Yarrangobilly, in the Snowy Mountains, SE Australia are examined and quantified. A new aerosol monitoring network was deployed in June 2013 and aerosol samples collected during the period July 2013 to July 2017 were analysed for 22 trace elements and black carbon by ion beam analysis techniques. Positive matrix factorisation and back trajectory analysis and trajectory clustering methods were employed for source apportionment and to isolate source areas and air mass travel pathways, respectively. This study identified the mean atmospheric PM2.5 mass concentration for the study period was (3.3 ± 2.5) μg m−3. It is shown that automobile (44.9 ± 0.8)%, secondary sulfate (21.4 ± 0.9)%, smoke (12.3 ± 0.6)%, soil (11.3 ± 0.5)% and aged sea salt (10.1 ± 0.4)% were the five PM2.5 source types, each with its own distinctive trends. The automobile and smoke sources were ascribed to a significant local influence from the road network and bushfire and hazard reduction burns, respectively. Long-range transport are the dominant sources for secondary sulfate from coal-fired power stations, windblown soil from the inland saline regions of the Lake Eyre and Murray-Darling Basins, and aged sea salt from the Southern Ocean to the remote alpine study site. The impact of recent climate change was recognised, as elevated smoke and windblown soil events correlated with drought and El Niño periods. Finally, the overall implications including potential aerosol derived proxies for interpreting palaeo-archives are discussed. To our knowledge, this is the first long-term detailed temporal and spatial characterisation of PM2.5 aerosols for the region and provides a crucial dataset for a range of multidisciplinary research. Crown Copyright © 2018 Published by Elsevier B.V.
- ItemConstraining source attribution of methane in an alluvial aquifer with multiple recharge pathways(Elsevier B. V., 2020-02-10) Iverach, CP; Cendón, DI; Beckmann, S; Hankin, SI; Manefield, M; Kelly, BFJIdentifying the source of methane (CH4) in groundwater is often complicated due to various production, degradation and migration pathways, particularly in settings where there are multiple groundwater recharge pathways. This study demonstrates the ability to constrain the origin of CH4 within an alluvial aquifer that could be sourced from in situ microbiological production or underlying formations at depth. To characterise the hydrochemical and microbiological processes active within the alluvium, previously reported hydrochemical data (major ion chemistry and isotopic tracers (3H, 14C, 36Cl)) were interpreted in the context of CH4 and carbon dioxide (CO2) isotopic chemistry, and the microbial community composition in the groundwater. The rate of observed oxidation of CH4 within the aquifer was then characterised using a Rayleigh fractionation model. The stratification of the hydrochemical facies and microbiological community populations is interpreted to be a result of the gradational mixing of water from river leakage and floodwater recharge with water from basal artesian inflow. Within the aquifer there is a low abundance of methanogenic archaea indicating that there is limited biological potential for microbial CH4 production. Our results show that the resulting interconnection between hydrochemistry and microbial community composition affects the occurrence and oxidation of CH4 within the alluvial aquifer, constraining the source of CH4 in the groundwater to the geological formations beneath the alluvium. © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. Open Access - CC BY licence
- ItemDeep meteoric leaching and its implications for groundwater residence time in a dissected Hawkesbury sandstone plateau (Kulnura-Mangrove Mountain Aquifier, NSW, Australia)(Geological Society of Australia, 2014-07-07) Hankin, SI; Cendón, DI; Williams, JP; Graham, ITIn the Kulnura-Mangrove region, groundwater extraction for potable water supply and for industrial activities such as farming and mining, can co-exist provided the main recharge areas are protected, pumping does not exceed recharge, and knowledge of the basic parameters within the aquifer are known through appropriate studies. In this study, groundwater residence time in the Kulnura-Mangrove Mountain aquifers was assessed over multiple years using environmental tracers (H2O stable isotopes, δ13CDIC, 3H, 14C and 87Sr/86Sr) and general hydrogeochemistry. The Kulnura-Mangrove Mountain aquifer is mostly hosted in its upper part by the Hawkesbury Sandstone, where intense and deep sandstone weathering profiles have resulted in enhanced groundwater storage. Weathering reactions favoured by the local geological setting has transformed the original Hawkesbury Sandstone quartz arenite into a semisolid or friable sandstone with variable weathering depths where most of the original carbonate cements have been leached, resulting in higher porosity and permeability. XRD analyses show an upper zone down to ~50 m and even 90 m in some areas where all carbonates and probably feldspars have been dissolved and the derived products goethite and kaolinite have formed. With depth, carbonates, mostly siderite, are present representing fresher or less-weathered sandstone. Isotopic analysis of dispersed carbonates shows consistent values with their depositional environment and devoid of 14C. The study incorporated whole rock analysis from samples recovered during well construction at four sites to better characterise water–rock interactions. Based on hydrogeochemistry, isotopic tracers and mineral phase distribution from whole rock XRD analysis, two main groundwater zones are differentiated in areas not disturbed by groundwater extraction. A shallow zone where oxidising Na–Cl-type waters with low pH and EC contain 3H and 14C activities consistent with very modern groundwater affected by bomb pulse signatures (up to 116.9 pMC). In this shallow zone the original Hawkesbury Sandstone has been deeply weathered, enhancing storage capacity for groundwater down to ~50 m in most areas and up to ~90 m in the Peats Ridge zone. The deeper groundwater zone is also relatively oxidising with a tendency towards Ca–HCO3 type waters, higher pH and EC, no 3H and 14C activities consistent with residence times from 0.9 to 11.8 ka BP, depending on the specific areas. The original sandstone is less weathered with depth, favouring the dissolution of dispersed carbonates and a transition to a fractured-rock flow type aquifer, both impacting on groundwater mean residence times.
- ItemDetecting connectivity between an overlying aquifer and a coal seam gas resource using methane isotopes, dissolved organic carbon and tritium(Association of Australian Cotton Scientists, 2015-09-09) Iverach, CP; Cendón, DI; Hankin, SI; Lowry, D; Fisher, RE; France, JL; Nisbet, EG; Baker, AA; Kelly, BFJThere is public concern that coal seam gas (CSG) production will affect groundwater quality and quantity in overlying aquifers used to support irrigation, stock and domestic water supplies. To assess this risk there is a need to map pathways of hydraulic connectivity using geochemical and isotopic measurements. We demonstrate that measurements of methane (CH4) concentration and isotopic composition, dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration and tritium (3H) activity data highlight potential pathways of hydraulic connectivity between the Walloon Coal Measures (WCM – the target formation for CSG production) and the Condamine Alluvium, south-east Queensland, Australia. At 19 locations, both groundwater and degassing air samples were collected from irrigation bores. Degassing air samples were pumped into 3 L Tedlar bags. This air was analysed for both its methane concentration and isotopic signature. The groundwater was analysed for 3H and [DOC]. To determine the isotopic signature of the WCM, CH4 ambient air samples were collected adjacent to CSG coproduced water holding ponds. We use isotope mixing plots to identify the isotopic source signature of CH4 in the air samples from the degassing irrigation bores and those adjacent to CSG water holding ponds. Within the mixing plots samples graph along clear trend lines, which allows gas sources to be assigned. These trends in the mixing plots indicate potential local hydraulic connectivity between the WCM and the overlying Condamine Alluvium.
- ItemDetecting hydraulic connection between fresh water aquifers and coal seam gas production using the isotopes of carbon in methane(University of New South Wales and Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, 2015-07-10) Iverach, CP; Cendón, DI; Hankin, SI; Lowry, D; Fisher, RE; France, JL; Nisbet, EG; Baker, AA; Kelly, BFJNot provided to ANSTO Library.
- ItemDiscrete interval groundwater samples from uncased boreholes in the Hawkesbury Sandstone, NSW, Australia, reveal mixed results.(International Association of Hydrogeologists, 2013-09-19) Peterson, MA; Cendón, DI; Hankin, SI; Chisari, RThe effects of subsidence and related fracturing from longwall coal mining have raised community concern around the Southern Coalfields of NSW. Shallow fracturing of bedrock streambeds has led to draining of perennial pools and localised diversion within some streams. Consequently, the risk of diverting surface water and shallow groundwaters towards underground mining operations has also been debated in the community. A Zone-of-Interest Groundwater Sampler (ZoIGS) with straddle packers and multiple pressure sensors was used to collect samples from discrete 5 m intervals within uncased 100 mm boreholes. Up to 6 intervals were successfully sampled in each borehole, to a maximum depth of 137 m below ground level. Hydrogeochemical information analysed comprised major ions, water stable isotopes, 3H and 14CDIC . The results were compared to geophysical data and pressure recovery after purges for each of the intervals. Each borehole displayed a unique vertical arrangement of apparent ages, hydraulic conductivities, mixing and pressure gradients. Hydrogeochemical results showed that some of the more evolved groundwater at depth, with corrected 14C ages up to a few thousand years, was also displaying a 3H signature of mixing with much younger waters. In some cases age profiles were overturned with depth, with younger water occurring below older water. Geophysical and pressure recovery data showed that each borehole intersected a number of aquifers, separated by shale aquitards up to five metres thick. The shale beds are sometimes closely associated with high horizontal hydraulic conductivities and outflow zones. 3H indicative of younger water did not always coincide with the higher hydraulic conductivity zones. The results describe a complex heterogeneous system within the Hawkesbury Sandstone, with multiple flow paths contributing to mixing of old and young groundwater at depth. The ability to sample and investigate numerous discrete intervals within uncased boreholes gave an opportunity for better understanding the system, with minimal infrastructure.
- ItemDrip hydrology monitoring in caves to inform stalagmite palaeoclimate records, Yarrangobilly, NSW(Australasian Quaternary Association Inc, 2014-01-01) Markowska, M; Treble, PC; Baker, AA; Andersen, MS; Hankin, SIPalaeoclimate research using speleothems has significantly increased over the last decade, owing to their potential to provide multi-proxy high resolution (sub-annual) terrestrial records of past climate variability. A crucial step in using these archives as high resolution proxies is understanding the connectivity between the surface climate and the signal transferred to the speleothem. This study investigates the modern karst hydrology at Yarrangobilly Caves, in the Snowy Mountains NSW. A high-frequency, spatially-dense drip water monitoring campaign in Harrie Wood Cave, was conducted over a 13 month period to characterise the hydrology of 14 sites within the same cave. By utilising the cave as a natural observatory we can determine 1) vadose-zone flow regimes, and 2) thresholds of recharge at the site. Using a statistical approach (PCA and AHC) 5 main drip hydrological regimes were established. Depth was found to have a moderate relationship (r2 = 0.4) with discharge, whereby increasing depth was associated with a dampening of flow and drip response. However, depth could not account for all the variability observed in the drip hydrology, suggesting complex controls unrelated to depth, such as unsaturated zone storage and mixing, appear to have a significant impact on vadose-zone flow regimes. As a speleothem is a function of the infiltrating drip water, we suggest that stalagmites fed by different drip types may thus contain different parts of the climate record i.e. smoothed mean annual vs. an extreme event record. These findings will be used to assess three suitable stalagmites for palaeoclimate reconstruction, fed by drip waters with different hydrological regimes and the preliminary results presented here. © Australasian Quaternary Association Inc.
- ItemThe effect of saline groundwater exchange, evaporation and variable river flows and on stable isotopes (18O and 2H) and major ion concentrations along the Darling River, NSW, Australia(European Geosciences Union, 2009-04-22) Meredith, KT; Hughes, CE; Hollins, SE; Cendón, DI; Hankin, SIAustralia's longest river, the Darling River, faces extreme pressure from drought and over extraction of water from its catchment. The lack of detailed baseline hydrochemical and isotopic data for the Darling River has prompted research aimed at using hydrological tracers to assess water gains and losses within the Darling River Drainage Basin. This study uses temporal hydrochemical and stable isotope data (18O and 2H) that has been monitored from gauging stations along the Barwon-Darling catchment over a five-year period from 2002 to 2007 as part of the Global Network for Isotopes in Rivers (GNIR) monitoring programme. Stream flow data, monthly δ18O and δ2H values and major ion chemistry is presented. Individual flow events were found to be isotopically distinct but the LELs that develop after these events have a very similar slope indicating similar climatic conditions across this region. During low flow conditions, salt concentrations increase systematically, δ18O and δ2H become enriched and d-excess becomes more negative indicating significant evaporation. Flow events input isotopically depleted fresh waters to the system and the d-excess returns towards the local meteoric water line. The major ions increase in concentration at a greater rate at Louth than they do at upstream at Bourke or downstream at Wilcannia, despite similar decreases in flow rates for all three sites. The hydrological response of the river to drought has had detrimental affects on the surface water system because it provides a pathway for saline groundwater to discharge into the river system. © Author(s) 2009