3 days ago

Six-Million-Year-Old Groundwater Pool Discovered Deep Under Sicilian Mountains
-- <-- shared technical article
-- <-- shared paper
[this was fascinating to read, especially as I have a deep interest in Sicily’s fascinating history including back to neolithic, cultural components & interactions, geology, food and drink (!), geographic setting, geomorphology, archaeology and so much more – and I want to live in the old part of Ragusa one day…]
#GIS #spatial #mapping #groundwater #water #hydrology #model #hydrogeology #geology #sicily #italy #deepgroundwater #marine #saltwater #Mediterranean #aquifer #3dmodel #spatialanalysis #spatiotemporal #aquifer #freshwater #rainwater #waterresources #well #groundwaterwell #meteoric #recharge #sealevel #coast #coastal #research

graphic - geological and hydrogeologic cross section - Gela aquifer conceptual model
aerial drone oblique photo - Ragusa, Sicily, Italy
graphics - 3D cross sections - modeling of the Gela formation
map - study area - SW Sicily, Italy
Andy Baker
4 days ago

Are you attending the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting (#AGU23) next week?

I have two presentations that might be of interest to anyone interested in #water #climate #groundwater #recharge and underground research that uses #caves #stalagmites #tunnels and #mines

On Monday:
Are twelve years of hydrological monitoring at a SE Australian alpine cave enough to provide insights into the speleothem paleoenvironmental record?
Session Number and Title: PP14A: An All-Inclusive Speleothem Science: Toward a Better Paleoclimate and Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction II Oral
Presentation Length: 16:12 - 16:22 PST
Session Date and Time: Monday, 11 December 2023; 16:00 - 17:30 PST
Location: MC, 3022 - West 

On Friday:

An underground drip water monitoring network to characterize rainfall recharge of groundwater at different geologies, environments, and climates across Australia
Session Number and Title: H51P: Environmental Vadose Zone Hydrology: Physical and Biogeochemical Processes Across Scales I Poster
Session Date and Time: Friday, December 15th; 8:30 AM - 12:50 PM PST
Location: MC, Poster Hall A-C - South 

6 days ago

via @bojacobs

Revealed: #Sellafield #nuclear site has leak that could pose risk to public

Safety concerns at #Europe’s most #hazardous plant have caused diplomatic tensions with US, Norway and Ireland

Anna Isaac and Alex Lawson
Tue 5 Dec 2023

"Sellafield, Europe’s most hazardous nuclear site, has a worsening leak from a huge silo of #RadioactiveWaste that could pose a risk to the public, the Guardian can reveal.

"Concerns over safety at the crumbling building, as well as cracks in a reservoir of toxic sludge known as B30, have caused diplomatic tensions with countries including the US, Norway and Ireland, which fear Sellafield has failed to get a grip of the problems.

"The leak of radioactive liquid from one of the 'highest nuclear hazards in the UK' – a decaying building at the vast Cumbrian site known as the Magnox swarf storage Silo (MSSS) – is likely to continue to 2050. That could have 'potentially significant consequences' if it gathers pace, risking contaminating #groundwater, according to an official document.

"Cracks have also developed in the concrete and asphalt skin covering the huge pond containing decades of nuclear sludge, part of a catalogue of safety problems at the site.

"These concerns have emerged in #NuclearLeaks, a year-long #Guardian investigation into problems spanning cyber #hacking, #radioactivecontamination and toxic #workplace culture at the vast nuclear dump.

"Sellafield, a sprawling 6 sq km (2 sq mile) site on the Cumbrian coast employing 11,000 people, stores and treats nuclear waste from weapons programmes and nuclear power generation, and is the largest such facility in Europe."

Read more:

#NoNukes #NoWar

2 weeks ago

Inside #PolandSpring’s Hidden Attack on #WaterRules It Didn’t Like

By Hiroko Tabuchi | Oct. 24, 2023 | New York Times

"When #Maine lawmakers tried to rein in large-scale access to the state’s #freshwater this year, the effort initially gained momentum. The state had just emerged from #drought, and many Mainers were sympathetic to protecting their snow-fed #lakes and #streams.

“Then a #WallStreet-backed giant called #BlueTriton stepped in.

“BlueTriton isn’t a household name, but its products are. Americans today buy more bottled water than any other packaged drink, and BlueTriton owns many of the nation’s biggest brands, including Poland Spring, named after a natural spring in Maine that ran dry decades ago.

“Maine’s bill threatened BlueTriton’s access to the #groundwater it bottles and sells. The legislation had already gotten a majority vote on the committee and was headed toward the full Legislature, when a lobbyist for BlueTriton proposed an amendment that would gut the entire bill.

“'Strike everything,' starts the proposed amendment, which was written in a Word document that contained a digital signature showing that it had been created by Elizabeth M. Frazier, who represents BlueTriton and is one of the most influential #lobbyists in Maine. The document was e-mailed by Ms. Frazier to lawmakers in the days after the committee vote.

“After BlueTriton’s intervention, the committee pulled the bill back. The company’s actions, which haven’t previously been reported, were described to The New York Times by three state legislators. The Times also reviewed several of the e-mails sent by Ms. Frazier as well as the Word document.

“'We couldn’t believe it. Their amendment strikes the entire bill,' said Christopher Kessler, a Democratic state representative who represents South Portland and a committee member who voted to advance the bill. 'Because all this happened behind closed doors, the public doesn’t know that Poland Spring stalled the process.'

“Bottlers have faced increasing scrutiny for the millions of throwaway #plastic bottles they produce, the marketing message that their products are safer or healthier than tap water, and for a business model in which they buy freshwater, often at low cost, only to sell it back to the public at much higher prices.

“And while the bottled-water business doesn’t use nearly as much groundwater as the nation’s thirstiest industries, like agriculture, the pressure on bottlers is building as awareness grows of the stress that intensive pumping can place on local water supplies. A Times investigation this year revealed that many of the aquifers that supply 90% of the nation’s water systems are being severely depleted as overuse and #GlobalWarming transform fragile #ecosystems.

“BlueTriton has been caught up in issues of local opposition and water use, and not only in Maine. The company also is fighting for access to water sources in numerous states, including #Michigan, #Colorado and others.

“In response to detailed questions, BlueTriton on Monday pointed The Times to a new page on its corporate website. 'After thoughtful consideration, BlueTriton opposes the proposed legislation,' the page says, because the bill 'would make it unaffordable for any large-scale water purchaser, including Poland Spring, to invest in infrastructure and operations.'

“Ms. Frazier didn’t respond to detailed questions.

“Groundwater use is regulated by states, not the federal government, which means there is little national coordination, monitoring or management of a vital natural resource. Maine’s bill seeks, among other things, to put a seven-year limit on contracts for large-scale freshwater pumping by corporations that ship water out of Maine, and to make the deals subject to local approval. That would block BlueTriton’s current efforts to lock in contracts up to 45 years long for pumping water.

“'We couldn’t believe it,' State Representative Christopher Kessler said of the lobbying effort.

“Industries and other interest groups routinely try to influence lawmaking, and there has been no suggestion that Ms. Frazier violated any rules. But it seemed 'unusual procedurally' for a corporation to propose rewriting an entire bill after it had already advanced within the Legislature, said Anthony Moffa, associate professor at the University of Maine School of Law.

“State senator Mark Lawrence, a Democrat who heads the committee considering the bill, said the committee would consider amendments proposed by any interested person or party. In Maine, 'a lot of the legislation that’s proposed is written by lobbyists, companies, different people like that,' he said.

“Mr. Lawrence also said that, at the same time the amendment was proposed, several members had begun to express fresh concerns that the State Legislature would be setting overly stringent curbs on contracts.

“BlueTriton finds itself pitted against local water boards, environmentalists and other groups across the country.

“In Colorado, environmental groups have been battling a 10-year contract that BlueTriton renewed with a semi-arid county to pump water from the Upper Arkansas River Basin, a region affected by historic drought.

“In #California, BlueTriton has publicly criticized and vowed to fight a cease-and-desist order issued by the state’s water board to stop diverting millions of gallons of water from a spring in San Bernardino County.

“In Michigan, lawmakers have proposed legislation that would close a loophole that enables BlueTriton and other commercial water users to pump water from the protected Great Lakes watershed. Known as the 'bottled-water loophole,' it allows for water to be used this way if it’s in containers that are 5.7 gallons or less.

“On its new corporate page, BlueTriton said 'there is no evidence of adverse impacts to the aquifer' in Colorado, and that California’s ruling 'negatively impacts every water agency and farmer in California that relies on groundwater, and in doing so, indirectly harms every Californian.'

“BlueTriton is a major presence in Maine, drawing water from eight locations around the state. It is currently trying to lock in a new contract of up to 45 years to pump water in Lincoln a former mill town.

“That would be BlueTriton’s second decades-long contract in the state, the kind of deals that would run afoul of the State Legislature’s proposed 7-year cap. The company’s pursuit of these deals, and the uncertainties of how climate change may affect Maine’s water supplies in the future, is what inspired the legislation, said Margaret M. O’Neil, the Democratic state legislator who introduced the bill.

“'We’re seeing our communities get locked into these contracts that are going to last, basically, the rest of my lifetime,' which is too risky, she said, considering climate uncertainties.

“In 2016-17 and in 2020-22, Maine experienced significant drought, followed by wet years. The state has also started seeing what scientists call 'snow drought.' As winters warm because of #ClimateChange, #snowpack and groundwater recharge can dwindle.

“John Mullaney, a hydrologist with the USGS's New England Water Science Center, said that a warming climate meant Maine was likely to experience more variability, with stronger rains but also worsening drought. 'The question is, what will we be able to do in 50 years,' he said. 'There might be changes that need to be made, including reducing groundwater extraction.'

“Industry groups emphasize that Maine still has ample groundwater and that bottled water accounts for only a small portion of its use compared to practices like irrigation. They also stress bottled water’s value in emergencies when drinking water is disrupted.

“And in Maine, BlueTriton has a powerful local ally: local water utilities, which say the revenue generated by selling water to bottlers helps keep costs down for everyone else.

“'Turning away a customer that’s seeking to pay money to the utility because of an alleged problem with extraction would be contrary' to ratepayers’ interests, said Roger Crouse, a board member at the Maine Water Utilities Association. 'If they have a contract that could be expiring in seven years, and the math doesn’t work out, they’re going to have to invest their money somewhere else.'

“Still, hydrologists warn that bottled water should not be discounted as an additional strain on aquifers and watersheds, as well as on residential wells. Last month, the US Geological Survey began its first-ever study of how the activities of the bottled water industry result in changes to groundwater levels, spring flows and water quality. 'Withdrawals, no matter what the use, influence movement of groundwater,' Cheryl Dieter, a hydrologist who is leading the study, said in an interview.

“BlueTriton itself is a creation of Wall Street. It is owned by the private equity funds One Rock Capital Partners and Metropoulos & Co., which paid $4.3 billion in 2021 to buy Nestlé’s North American bottled-water business.

“In Maine, some neighbors of BlueTriton, like Natalie DiPentino, are skeptical of the company for more personal reasons.

“Ms. DiPentino, who lives near Lincoln, can’t prove it but wonders if pumping by Poland Spring contributed to a crisis in her home during a drought in 2017, when her well ran dry along with those of several neighbors. Her family had to haul buckets of river water to flush the toilet, she said. Stores nearby ran out of bottled water.

“After learning about BlueTriton’s proposed 45-year contract at its Lincoln facility, she led calls for a public hearing, arguing that deals were being cut behind closed doors and that Poland Spring would be paying too little, $15,000 a month, for millions of gallons of water. 'You don’t know how badly you need water until you don’t have it in your house,' she said.

“The hearing she sought is now scheduled for next month."

Full article:

#WaterIsLife #WaterCrisis #BigWater #WaterRights

2 weeks ago

Threat of massive drinking #WaterCrisis looms over American regions: ‘There will be parts of the U.S. that run out’

Story by Wes Stenzel, November 27, 2023

"A new study from The New York Times has revealed that substantial, consistent damage is being done to the #groundwater supply in the United States, which has massive negative implications for #agriculture, #DrinkingWater, construction, and more.

"What’s happening?

"In the past four decades, more than half of all American groundwater sites have been substantially depleted, as more water has been taken out than replenished naturally.

"Additionally, 40 percent of all locations have hit an all-time low.

"Pumping out groundwater disrupts layers of different substances below the Earth’s surface, as the ground can settle into the area where the water is taken out and take up space where it would ordinarily replenish.

"The New York Times sees a lack of regulation as one of the biggest issues regarding groundwater use. Additionally, The Times claims there is very little significant research and data tracking on a countrywide scale.

"Why is groundwater use important?

"Groundwater is essential to agriculture, and the depletion of the resource could fundamentally disrupt crop yields in the coming years in states such as Kansas, where the natural groundwater cannot support the agricultural industry anymore, according to The Times. Meanwhile, more arid states like California, Texas, and Utah are seeing widespread infrastructural damage to roads and the ground due to overpumping. Phoenix does not have enough groundwater in certain areas to construct new homes."

#WaterIsLife #WaterExtraction #BlueTriton #Nestle #PolandSpring #BigWater

2 weeks ago

Christopher Flavelle: As Groundwater Dwindles, Powerful Players Block Change: Here are some of the people fighting efforts to conserve a vital resource that’s disappearing across the United States.

#giftarticle #groundwater #unitedstates

What an appalling notion. Glencore company proposes to poison Australia's Great Artesian Basin - arguably one of the most treasured natural wonders of the world..

"Environmentalists and farmers are hardening their resolve against a proposal to inject liquefied carbon dioxide into Australia's biggest underground fresh water reservoir."

#Pollution #WaterPollution #ArtesianBasin #Groundwater #Australia

3 weeks ago


"The public lands surrounding #GrandCanyon National Park contain high concentrations of uranium ore. Mining bores deep into vertical rock formations called 'breccia pipes,' making #uranium soluble to #groundwater and risking pollution to Grand Canyon’s biologically rich springs. They then leave most of the removed material in #tailing piles that contribute to #water and #air #pollution.

"Because #UraniumMining is not consistently profitable, these mining operations are often abandoned for decades at a time — without any oversight or continued maintenance of the work area.

"Large drilling sites, tailing piles and mines are often left open to the forces of nature — leading to leaks into #groundwater, dispersal of #airborne uranium pollution and #dust, and unsafe conditions for recreational visitors to public lands. And if and when these old mines are cleaned up, the cost burden usually falls on the American public.

"Even more disconcerting is the #toxic legacy left on public lands and sacred #AmericanIndian sites. Iconic landscapes have been marred, and sources of drinking water remain polluted. Manmade ponds containing uranium-contaminated water are left uncovered and used by native #birds and other #wildlife. These mines affect #abitat for more than 100 sensitive species, including #muledeer, #mountainlions, imperiled #Californiacondors and highly endangered native #fish.

"#Groundwater #pollution has the potential to seep into underground #aquifers used for drinking water and into seeps and springs that are the lifeblood for animals in the arid Grand Canyon region.

"The Center for Biological Diversity opposes all uranium mining near Grand Canyon. Over the past decade, we have worked through the courts, through Congress, with the president and in the media to prevent new uranium mining and force the closure and cleanup of old uranium mining sites. To date we have been successful in securing and defending a ban on new uranium mining claims for 20 years on the doorstep to Grand Canyon National Park and have pushed back the reopening of old uranium mines through aggressive litigation.
Our work continues today.

"We've submitted a legal petition to the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management asking them to update old uranium-mining regulations that don't adequately protect #PublicLands, tribal communities and human health.

"We're supporting a campaign to designate a monument that would permanently ban new uranium mining on 1.7 million acres of land that contain the sacred sites of many American Indian tribes, habitat for endemic and endangered species, and tributaries of the #ColoradoRiver.

"And we're fighting existing uranium mines, and the efforts of the mining industry to roll back existing protections, in federal court."

#WaterIsLife #NativeAmericans #CulturalGenocide #NuclearColonialism

VEGAS at U of Stuttgart
1 month ago

We're happy to announce the publication of a novel #paper entitled

“Heat transport from atmosphere through the subsurface to drinking-water supply pipes”

authored by

Elisabeth Nissler, Samuel Scherrer, Holger Class, Tanja Müller, Mark Hermannspan, Esad Osmancevic, and Claus Haslauer

We designed and implemented a novel boundary condition at the interface between the #atmosphere and the #subsurface. With this boundary condition we demonstrate that we are able to simultaneously predict #temperatures and water content in the subsurface driven by hydro-meteorological parameters.

#heat #hydrogeology #groundwater #vadosezone #meteorology

We dug a trench and buried two types of drinking water pipes. The trench was back-filled and heavily instrumented with temperature and soil moisture sensors
VEGAS at U of Stuttgart
1 month ago

It has been fairly busy around here, with activities in the field

First we did some site investigation by coring (video with the core barrel / hammering) and subsequent piezometer installations (video with blue auger; picture of the bottom tip of a screen)

#groundwater #fieldwork #drilling #hydrogeology

video of augering
1 month ago
Rᴏᴍᴀɴ Aʟᴛʜᴇʀ
1 month ago
Illustrative picture of a person sampling freshwater in a huge cavity inside a cave, potentially looking for stygofauna. Top bar reads: "DarCo: A plan to incorporate subterranean ecosystems in conservation agendas". Picture source: uPIX - Fotografia ipogea
Paul Ashby
1 month ago

In part two of the NYT's investigation of #groundwater pumping, the alarming message: our #aquifers are not bottomless, yet they are being treated as such.

Scientists map loss of #groundwater storage around the world
For the first time, a new study maps this loss of groundwater storage capacity around the world. "Our study puts land subsidence happening from excessive groundwater pumping to a global context," said Fahim Hasan, a Ph.D. candidate at Colorado State University. They found global aquifer storage capacity is disappearing at a rate of approximately 17 km3 per year (about the size of 7,000 Great Pyramids of Giza).

Andy Baker
1 month ago

This ABC doco is recommended for those interested in large tunnelling projects and Australia's Snowy Hydro 'pumped hydro' battery that is running years late and hugely over budget.

The tunnelling machine is bogged.

I read the EIS in detail back in the day, advising on groundwater as part of a larger submission.

I am confident that the geology ahead is poorly mapped and complex. Weathered basalt and limestone are both possible, with more opportunities for bogging and flooding. Watch this space...

Four Corners: Series 2023 Tunnel Vision

The nation-building project that went horribly wrong. Snowy Hydro 2.0 was sold as a low-carbon future by the end of 2024. Instead, the pumped hydro project is now five years behind schedule and forecast to hit $12 billion.
#energy #renewables #Snowy2 #geology #groundwater #tunnelling #pumpedhydro

Dimitri Dhuyvetter
1 month ago

Next US environmental crisis will be groundwater. It’s sad how predictable and in some cases preventable these disasters are. #usa #groundwater #drought #climatechange

1 month ago
2 months ago

UN University Report on Risk Tipping Points, 'Interconnected Disaster Risks' with Dr Jack O'Connor
#ClimateChange #TippingPoints #FeedbackMechanisms #GroundWater #Extinctions #LateStageHumanity #Agriculture #Ripple Effects #Food

salix sericea (@Ripple13216)
2 months ago

An agency run by the county and the major #landowners who deplete the #groundwater is tasked to achieve groundwater sustainability. It has no enforcement rights.

Meet #California's #GSAs. It gets even better for the few aquifers that are currently in good shape: landowners are eyeing selling water...

#agriculture #exploitation #environment

Sören Wilke
2 months ago

I did a thing:

HyQ is a #python library that lets you make simple #groundwater models really quick. It's essentially a lot of utilities build around the Theis Well Function.

#geology #modeling

A scientific plot of three maps stacked on top of each other. Each map indicating the height of thr groundwater surface at another point in time.
Mojo ♻️
2 months ago

#Methane bubbles in #groundwater cast doubts over #Beetaloo basin #fracking approval. Experts warn the #NT government has ‘significant and critical gaps in the knowledge base underpinning fracking approvals’ #frackoff #Santos #gas #northernterritory

2 months ago

Gavin Newsom brings environmental justice to #groundwater court | The Sacramento Bee #CAWater

Claire Barnes
2 months ago

@mk30 This is a really interesting article, thank you - especially on doubts, and minds changed by new insights & experience. Also glad of its link to the EU Water Framework Directive - useful ideas here for many countries!

#water #groundwater #floods #floodplain #fish #salmon #bream #lamprey @pmroman

Overusing groundwater ended North Africa's Garamantian civilization.

' "As you look at modern examples like the San Joaquin Valley, people are using the groundwater up [faster] than it's being replenished," says [study lead author Frank] Schwartz. "California had a great wet winter this year, but that followed 20 years of drought. [If drier years continue] California will ultimately run into the same problem as the Garamantians.... " '

#groundwater #overuse #Sahara

Kees van der Leun
2 months ago

Groundwater is the world's most extracted raw material - nearly a trillion* tons per year.
Satellite measurements have shown that total overdraft of groundwater (withdrawals in excess of natural recharge) is around 40% of all groundwater withdrawals.
*) a million million.
#water #watersupply #groundwater

Swiss drinking water is contaminated with ‘#foreverchemicals’, research shows.

"#Groundwater provides 80 per cent of Switzerland's drinking water.

Samples were taken at more than 500 measuring stations.
NAQUA found that the potentially harmful chemical additives are widespread in Switzerland’s main drinking water resource.

However, Swiss limit values were only exceeded at one station, according to the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN)."

The European Network
2 months ago

Forever chemicals have been found in almost half of Swiss groundwater.

Samples were taken at more than 500 measuring stations. The National Groundwater Observatory found that the potentially harmful chemical additives are widespread in Switzerland’s main drinking water resource.

However, Swiss limit values were only exceeded at one station, according to the Federal Office for the Environment.

#Switzerland #Water #Groundwater #ForeverChemicals #PFAS #Pollution

Lukas VF Novak
2 months ago

Searching for life where it shouldn't exist

"it's a #cave lake that doesn't have a lot of movement in its waters, it's stratified, so there is layer upon layer of #groundwater where biofilms are growing without detectable amounts of oxygen. The #biofilms are missing a lot of the common ingredients available at the surface for #microbes to grow, but by all accounts, they are alive."

exploreres diving in a cave
Andy Baker
2 months ago

A few years ago, a group of us wondered if we could find a new way to understand when groundwater gets replenished. Technically called groundwater recharge, this is important to quantify so that we can determine when it occurs, where it occurs and how much rainfall is needed. An improved quantification of groundwater recharge leads to more sustainable management of our groundwater resources.

Our approach was to monitor the water moving from the surface to the groundwater table by using underground spaces - tunnels, mines, caves, etc. - as 'observatories of groundwater recharge'. Thanks to funding from the Australian Research Council, and the support of many partners, our vision is being realised. With Wendy Timms (Deakin University), Marilu Melo Zurita (UNSW Arts, Design & Architecture), Margaret Shanafield (Flinders University), Stacey Priestley (CSIRO), Martin Andersen (UNSW Engineering) and myself (UNSW Science), we are accumulating groundwater recharge data, and in particular information on the amount of rainfall needed to generate recharge, in Queensland, Tasmania, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

If you are interested in finding out more, we have a pre-print that describes our initial network and our first results. We are also welcoming public comments at the EGUsphere webpage:

Baker, A., Shanafield, M., Timms, W., Andersen, M. S., Priestley, S., and Melo Zurita, M.: An underground drip water monitoring network to characterize rainfall recharge of groundwater at different geologies, environments, and climates across Australia, EGUsphere [preprint],, 2023.

And coming in the next few weeks is the associated web-based groundwater recharge SQL database.

#groundwater #research #science #environment #rainfall #SQL #caves #mines #tunnels #datascience #academia #environment

Bill Minarik
3 months ago

An illuminating talk today by Ken Belitz #USGS and the 2023 Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lecturer. He spoke on machine learning methods applied to #hydrogeology

Figures from: Ransom et al. (2022) and Rosecrans et al. (2022)
#McGillUniversity #EarthSystemScience #GroundWater

Graphical abstract from Rosecrans et al. (2022). Measurements and predictor variables combined to map groundwater fluorine distribution.
Graphical abstract from Ransom et al (2022). Using measured characteristics and machine learning to predict the spatial variability of groundwater nitrate concentration.
Andy Baker
3 months ago

Another week of fieldwork has been successfully completed, thanks to the support of the team at Yarrangobilly Caves.

Travelling with @gregoiremariethoz, we discussed future groundwater and hydrology collaborations at this long-term cave-based environmental monitoring site.

If you are interested in our research, this is an example of our previous collaboration at the caves, where we worked out how much rainfall was needed for groundwater recharge to occur.

#science #environment #hydrology #groundwater #cavescience #caves #climate

a view out of a cave entrance, forest in the distance
a lyrebird nest
a view into a large cave chamber. a path heads into the distance between huge boulders, some stalactites can be seen on the cave roof
Bud Talbot
3 months ago

Very interesting, and alarming.


Widespread aquifer depressurization after a century of intensive groundwater use in USA | Science Advances

Janice Selbie
3 months ago

EEEEK! This isn’t good. #climatechange #groundwater #USA #fissures
Southwest Riddled With Mile-Long Cracks Due to Pumping Groundwater

Andy Baker
3 months ago

Some of my Australian colleagues are installing Critical Zone Observatories. Infrastructure that will enable us to monitor environmental change from the top of the vegetation to the groundwater.

I arrived at the UNSW Wellington Research Station in time to be put to work, helping install electrodes that will form a permanent geophysics line for measuring soil moisture.

#environment #climate #water #groundwater #geophysics #CZO #CriticalZone #soilscience #geoscience #science

A field with, from the left, weather station, vehicle, power unit, digger.
Science selfie, geophysics trench heading to the distance across a grass field
Andy Baker
5 months ago

Lake George, near Canberra, is often dry. I travelled past it today, and it is full.

It is sometimes called a natural rain gauge, filling and drying with wet and dry periods.

It is better understood as a gauge of groundwater levels. When the water table is high, it reaches the land surface, and the lake appears.

So Lake George is full of water from the rise in groundwater after the wet La Nina years. But the surrounding landscape is dry.

In the field this week, I have seen no evidence of rainfall replenishment of groundwater in the last six months. Enjoy Lake George while the water is still there!

#groundwater #climate #lakes #science #environment #rain #envionment #earthscience #water

Lake George at sunset
Andy Baker
5 months ago

It was wonderful to work with the team at Wellington Caves today. Here's some photos of the afternoon work, downloading data loggers in Cathedral Cave.

Each logger unit works like a drum, recording the sound of drips falling on to them. Here, we are about 27 m below the surface, close to the groundwater table. Water reaching this depth will likely replenish the groundwater.

Data from February to now suggests zero rainfall replenishment of groundwater here.

#science #environment #geology #water #groundwater #academia #research #caves #environmentalscience #earthscience

A cave chamber, two square logger units on the floor
A cave chamber, logger units and laptop in foreground
A cave with stalagmites, logger units in foreground
A cave chamber, calcite deposits on the left, two logger units in the foreground
Andy Baker
5 months ago

We were recently asked by @theconversationau to write an article about our recent research on the decline in groundwater replenishment in SW Western Australia, and how it is unprecedented in the last 800 years.

That article has just gone live here:

#rain #groundwater #climate #water #caves #stalagmites #australia #science #geology #environment

5 months ago

June 21, 2023

Interior Sec. Haaland Supports Digging into #Paiute Massacre Site for Lithium

by Brenda Norrell, Censored News

Raided and terrorized by police, their Eagle Feathers taken, now Interior Sec. #DebHaaland has broken their hearts, imperiling future generations. Ox Sam Camp at the Paiute Massacre Site. The People of the Ghost Dancers

"Interior Sec. Deb Haaland supports digging into the burial places of massacred Paiutes for #lithium -- and said she is doing the right thing.

"AP reports that Haaland, whose department oversees Thacker Pass, said that while she supports
the right to peaceful #protests, her agency is in favor of the mine because 'the need for our clean
energy economy to move forward is definitely important.'

"Haaland told The Associated Press that when her agency inherits a project from a previous
administration, 'It’s our job to make sure we’re doing things according to the science, to the law.'
However, the Interior Department and a federal judge are violating federal laws that protect Native
American religious and burial places; #endangered species and their habitat; and the #groundwater."

#CulturalGenocide #NativeAmerican #NativeAmericanNews #ThackerPass #Enviroment #EndangeredSpecies #WaterIsLife

Andy Baker
5 months ago

I've worked underground in many caves for many years, yet this was a first for me.

Normally water flows along the 'curtains' on the roof, dripping off the lowest point.

This one has a leak, with water squirting out under pressure.

Harrie Wood Cave, Yarrangobilly, Australia

#caves #water #hydrology #science #environment #geology #groundwater

A cave with stalactites and stalagmites, water squirting to the right foreground
CelloMom On Cars
6 months ago

In England:

"As surface #water and #groundwater levels dwindle year by year, a crisis awaits. It’s simple maths. Demand is outstripping supply.

Little old #England manages to encompass many global water problems – scarcity, overabstraction, pollution, underinvestment, government and regulatory failings, environmental degradation and corporate misconduct – all within the confines of one small country in the far west of Europe."


Andy Baker
6 months ago

Here's the longer-term context for the current drying in the furthest SW of #Australia.

The #stalagmite record goes back 800 years into the past. And at no time do we see anything similar to the change in oxygen isotope composition that has occurred in recent decades.

This suggests that the current drying trend is unprecedented in the last 800 years.

The #cave record shows that less #water is moving to the #groundwater by fast-flow, or preferential-flow routes. And that is leading to the observed decline in groundwater levels.

#climatechange #climate #environment #science #research #geology

A three part graph. 
Top-left is the stalagmite record from 1200 to present.
Bottom left is the rainfall amount that has been reconstructed for the same time period
On the right are the distributions of the water oxygen isotope composition, showing that the current composition is dominated by slow-flow (or diffuse) water and in the past there was more fast-flow (or preferential) water
Andy Baker
6 months ago

Here's what has been happening in the SW corner of Australia over recent decades.

The #stalagmites in the caves have changed in their oxygen isotope composition.

This oxygen comes originally from the oxygen in the #rain water, but that hasn't changed over time. So the stalagmites are telling us that there has been a change in how that water gets underground. We provide evidence that this is due to decreased rainfall.

Hydrology models show that #soil water content has also decreased, #rainfall amount is decreasing and #groundwater levels are falling.

All of this is attributed to #climate change, as the westerly circulation that brings rain to these latitudes gradually moves south.

#climatechange #hydrology #caves #geology #environment #science

Five graphs showing changes from 1910 to 2020 on the horizontal axis. From the top: the stalagmite oxygen isotope record; the annual total rainfall; the rainfall oxygen isotope composition; the soil water content; groundwater level.
Andy Baker
6 months ago

It has been wonderful to collaborate with my ANSTO, CSIRO and ANU colleagues Stacey Priestley, Pauline Treble, Alan Griffiths, Karina Meredith and Nerilie Abram.

Stacey has led this new paper, "Caves demonstrate decrease in rainfall recharge of southwest Australian groundwater is unprecedented for the last 800 years".

If you are interested in groundwater recharge and climate change, and caves and karst, you might be interested in Stacey's ‘Behind the Paper’ blog post at:

And the Open Access paper can be read here:

#environment #climate #science #research #climatechange #geology #groundwater

Daniel Swain
9 months ago

RT @CA_DWR: As weather patterns have become more variable and extreme, resulting in more frequent and consequential droughts and high flow events, replenishment of depleted #groundwater basins is an essential part of California’s long-term water resilience and drought mitigation efforts.

10 months ago

Um yeah. There has to be a better solution. #Mining companies are notorious for #EnvironmentalRacism and destruction of plant and animal life. We need to recycle the #Lithium we have, and switch ASP to #CarbonDioxide and #FlowBatteries that don't involve Lithium!

US judge won't block huge lithium mine on Nevada-Oregon line

A federal judge has sided with the Biden administration and a mining company in a fight with environmentalists and tribal leaders trying to block a huge lithium mine in Nevada near the Oregon line

by Scott Sonner, February 24, 2023

"Opponents say the mine would destroy key #wildlife habitat and sacred #cultural treasures, harm #groundwater and pollute the air. They argued in their request for an emergency court order last week that without it, the developer would begin to rip up a high-desert sea of #sagebrush that holds some of the most critical habitat still intact for the dwindling sage #grouse in the West.

"Friday's ruling marks the third time in two years Du has refused to grant injunctions sought by the conservationists, #NativeAmerican tribes and a Nevada rancher who lives near the mine."
#WaterIsLife #OnlyOnePlanet