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Title: Spatial organisation of groundwater-surface water interactions in an upland catchment : integrating hydrometric, tracer and modelling approaches
Author: Blumstock, Maria Elisabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 6424 3423
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis presents studies of the heterogeneous nature of groundwater-surface water (GW-SW) interactions at the hillslope and catchment scale in the 3.2km2 Bruntland Burn, UK. GW fluctuations were measured within three contrasting hydropedological units. Synoptic hydrogeochemical surveys were carried out (major ions, stable isotopes) to capture the increased influence of GW to the stream during a 10year return period drought. The catchment was shown to have highly dynamic GW stores, with each landscape unit translating into different rainfall-runoff processes. Soil characteristics were shown to be the strongest predictors for variability in GW dynamics. Each soil type was characterised by a unique storage-discharge relationship and threshold response with a certain GW level above which lateral flow dominated. On the lower hillslope, predominating lateral flow and little recharge to depth is supported by hydrologically responsive soils. Connectivity between the steeper slopes and the valley bottom, however, needed persistent wet periods to overcome storage thresholds. Here, vertical flow paths recharging deeper GW dominated, with GW levels falling below the soil layer into the underlying drift. It was found that relatively well mixed, near-surface sources of stream flow predominated in wetter conditions, whilst baseflows are variable and reflect a diverse range of GW stores. Geophysics (ERT) and GW level measurements were integrated into MODFLOW-NWT to simulate GW-SW interactions along a representative 2D-hillslope transect. Although only a preliminary model, it was shown that shallow pathways have much shorter residence times, thus maintaining high water tables in the riparian peatlands, than deeper flow paths discharging through the drift and directly into the stream. Largest sources of GW are located within the drift, resulting in complex spatial patterns of runoff generation. This work illustrated the utility of a basic model to predict GW flow paths, highlighting how water and solutes are stored and released in montane headwater catchments.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Leibniz Association ; University of Aberdeen
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Groundwater ; Hydrogeological modeling ; Water chemistry