Hydrochemical trends, palaeorecharge and groundwater ages in the fissured Chalk aquifer of the London and Berkshire Basins, UK

Elliott, Trevor; Andrews, John N.; Edmunds, W. Mike. 1999 Hydrochemical trends, palaeorecharge and groundwater ages in the fissured Chalk aquifer of the London and Berkshire Basins, UK. Applied Geochemistry, 14 (3). 333-363.

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The hydrochemical, radiochemical, stable isotope, 14C and dissolved noble gas composition of groundwaters has been determined along two profiles across the confined, fissured Chalk aquifer of the London Basin of southern England, and for selected sites in the adjacent Berkshire Basin. During downgradient flow in the London Basin aquifer, the groundwater chemistry is modified by water–rock interactions: congruent and incongruent reaction of the carbonate lithology resulting in enhanced Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios and 13C contents with increased residence times; redox and ion exchange reactions; and towards the centre of the Basin, mixing with a residual saline connate water stored in the Chalk matrix. There is evidence from anomalous water chemistries for a component of vertical leakage from overlying Tertiary beds into the confined aquifer as a result of historical dewatering of the aquifer. Dissolved noble gas contents indicate the climate was up to 4.5°C cooler than at present during recharge of the waters now found in the centres of both Basins; stable isotope (2H and 18O) depletions correspond to this recharge temperature change. For evolved waters having δ13C > −8‰ PDB a negative linear correlation is demonstrated between derived recharge temperatures and δ13C values, which is interpreted as mixing between relatively warm, light isotopic, fracture-borne waters and cooler stored waters of the matrix having a 13C signature more or less equilibrated with the Chalk. From geochemical (14C, 4He) age estimates, the abstracted water is interpreted as being either of wholly Holocene/post-Devensian glacial origin, or an admixture of Holocene and Late Pleistocene pre-glacial (cold stage interstadial) recharge. Devensian pleniglacial stage waters of the Last Glacial Maximum are not represented.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Groundwater Management
ISSN: 0883-2927
Additional Keywords: GroundwaterBGS, Groundwater, Groundwater quality, Groundwater dating, Major aquifer
Related URLs:
Date made live: 29 Nov 2010 16:13 +0 (UTC)

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