Compare and Contrast the Hydrogeology of Two Regions - Comparison Essay Example

Compare and Contrast the Hydrogeology of Two Regions

The study of earth science usually comprised of different subsystems that interacts interchangeably from one another:  the hydrosphere, the biosphere, and the geosphere - Compare and Contrast the Hydrogeology of Two Regions introduction. A bigger percentage of the earth’s composition, usually of water, can be seen in every form: raindrops, river, seas, lake, and groundwater. Each of these manifestations of water has separate fields of studies like astronomy, oceanography, and Hydrogeology. (Porges B11)

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Hydrogeology, derived from the word hydro – water and geology – study of Earth, is the field of Science that studies and analyzes the relative movement and distribution of groundwater on the Earth’s crust specifically on rocks and soil (which is called aquifiers). Aquifier consists of layers of permeable rocks as well as materials, which are unconsolidated in the form of silt, clay, sand, or gravel within which the groundwater can be extracted by means of water well. In a broader sense, hydrogeology is the study of how the water flows in these aquifiers and its related characteristics. It is concerned mainly on the analysis of the physical, chemical, legal, and biological exchanges between nature, water, soil, and its impact on the society as well. Some other related terms include aquitard, which comprised as a layer of waterproof material along an aquifier and restricts or impedes the flow of groundwater from one point of the aquifier to other point; and aquiclude, which comprised of a solid, and impervious area below an aquifier; also the layer of drenched substance in an aquifier is called water table. Aquifiers can be classified as confined, where the water table is located above the aquitard; and unconfined, wherein the water table is also the upper boundary. Saturated zone, one of the two regions of the earth’s crusts, is the portion where all available areas are packed with water. The unsaturated zone, considered the other region of the earth’s crusts, comprised of air pockets that can be replaced by water (see Figure 1).

Figure 1.

The flow of groundwater does not always follow the topography of the surface (down- hill for instance); but it follows the principle of high pressure to low pressure or pressure gradient. This will enable groundwater to flow on conduits and fracture paths under ground, shallow permeable media, and through aquifiers depending on the nature of its hydraulic conductivity.  (Domenico B10) The depth of groundwater is usually 1,500 ft or around 450 m. beneath the land surface. In general, the flow of groundwater can be associated to the different fields of studies and one way or another influences it: the most shallow part of groundwater (usually 10 ft. below) is related to agriculture, civil engineering, and soil sciences; On the deeper portion of groundwater, the principles of fluids such as geothermal fluids, water, and hydrocarbons are eminent and are mostly involves geophysicists, and geologists; most of the laws derived from groundwater flow emanates from fluid mechanics, principle of viscosity of fluids; its mathematical model can be derived using the Laplace equations, and numerical methods; and even the microbiological and chemical distinction of groundwater to surface water are considered. (David A83)

Geology, the study of the planet earth: its evolution, processes, and system of sustaining life, encompasses the different subsystems including the geosphere – the solid portion of the planet (rocks, soil, etc.); hydrosphere – includes all of the earth’s water and its cycle, and biosphere – the area of living and non-living things. Hydrology is the study of the hydrosphere and its cycle. Since the planet is composed of a closed system, water only circulates through the earth’s surface on mountains, rivers, or underground waterways, groundwater, creeks, oceans, and rainfalls. And since water circulates on a continuous system (charge and discharge process), it undergoes a natural or a self-cleansing procedure passing through solid mineral rocks that filters it. The features or characteristics of water will now depend on the geological perspective of a certain area: the resources of water underground, the presence of large or small bodies of water, the presence of water in low atmosphere, and surface water.  Manifestations of these can be seen on oceanic flow that can be affected by several factors such as wind patterns, landmasses, and the gravitational pull of the moon, earth, and the sun; the surface currents which can be seen in the Gulf stream; turbidity currents caused by the mixing of light water with water containing sediments; flooding which is caused by heavy rains, melting of snow, poor irrigation, and water management; and chemical reactions of groundwater in contact with bedrock, known as Karst.

The Yucatan Peninsula, categorized as a coastal line of carbonate mass having a stratified aquifier, is comprised of carbonate rocks that is presumed to be deposited way back some 65 million years ago. The aquifier system in the Yucatan comprised of evaporitic rocks and carbonates with thick layers successively deposited ranging from 1 to 2km on most of the portion of the Peninsula. The surface rocks are considered not affected by tectonic activities, burial by sediments or other rocks on top resulting to compaction, and by diagenesis which is the chemical process through which the composition of the rocks are altered. The caves and the cenotes that can be seen on the land façade retain a greater part of the unique porosity, and many fossils and layers of rock can be seen. The Yucatan Peninsula is also considered a coastal system wherein oceanic activities, and subsequent mixing of sea and fresh water affect it. The Karst aquifiers in the Yucatan Peninsula can be very well considered hydrologically interconnected as can be seen on the quantity of large discharge in the form of springs, caletas along the coastline, the distribution and length of the exposed active cave systems. The Yucatan contains a matured and functional karst aquifier that is capable of transporting effectively a large volume of water. The circulation of ground water occurs through all of the dissolution conduits and fractures on the primary up to tertiary level of porosity. Contamination issues at the present are of concern in the Yucatan: the uncontrollable leachates coming from the garbage dumps from quarries with less than a meter of dry rock separating the aquifier and the garbages; second is the system of sewage disposal (See Figure 2)

Figure 2. The Yucatan Peninsula

Considering the coastal basin of Southern Rhode Island, New England, the salt pond area extending from the Westerly and up to Narragansett Bay forms a relative innate frontier between the shallow and extremely permeable freshwater aquifier of the basin and the Atlantic Ocean. A considerable large input of fresh and raw groundwater resources and at the same time exhibits a minimal flushing or discharge rate towards the open ocean creates the salt pond vulnerable to contamination due to bacteria, and euthropication. The discharge of ground water from the salt pond is an important source of contaminants, and dissolved nutrients that can significantly have an unfavorable effect on this ecologically important coastal area. (Driscoll A44)

The coastal region of the southern Rhode Island is comprised of deposits of thick glacial and bedrocks with irregular surface being formed by ridges and valleys. The aquifier system is surrounded bodies of surface waters, and below by crystalline bedrock (see Figure 3).

Figure 3. Coastal basin of Southern Rhode Island, New England

Comparative and contrasting summaries are given below between the hydrogeology of the Yucatan Peninsula and the New England (Southern Rhode Island)

Yucatan Peninsula

·         Categorized, as a coastal line of carbonate mass having a stratified aquifier, is comprised of carbonate rocks.

·         The aquifier system in the Yucatan comprised of evaporitic rocks and carbonates with thick layers successively deposited.

·         The caves and the cenotes that can be seen on the land façade retain a greater part of the unique porosity, and many fossils and layers of rock can be seen.

·         Large discharge in the form of springs, caletas along the coastline, the distribution and length of the exposed active cave systems.

·         The Yucatan contains a matured and functional karst aquifier that is capable of transporting effectively a large volume of water. The circulation of ground water occurs through all of the dissolution conduits and fractures on the primary up to tertiary level of porosity.

·         Contamination issues at the present are of concern in the Yucatan: the uncontrollable leachates coming from the garbage dumps from quarries with less than a meter of dry rock separating the aquifier and the garbages; second is the system of sewage disposal

Coastal Basin of Southern Rhode Island

·         The salt pond area extending from the Westerly and up to Narragansett Bay forms a relative innate frontier between the shallow and extremely permeable freshwater aquifier of the basin and the Atlantic Ocean.

·         Exhibits a minimal flushing or discharge rate towards the open ocean creates the salt pond vulnerable to contamination.

·         The aquifier system is surrounded bodies of surface waters, and below by crystalline bedrock

Works Cited

David, Todd. Groundwater Hydrology 2nd Edition. John Wiley & Sons, 1980: A83

Domenico, Paul, and Walter Schwartz. Physical and Chemical Hydrogeology. Wiley & Sons, 1998: B10

Driscoll, Fletcher. Groundwater and Wells. Orlando, Florida: Prentice Hall, 1986: A44

Porges, Robert, and Matthew Hammer. The Compendium of Hydrogeology. National Ground Water Association, 2001: B11

 

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