Some relationships between lithology, basin form and hydrology : a case study from the Thames Basin, UK

Bloomfield, J.P. ORCID:; Bricker, S.H.; Newell, A.J.. 2011 Some relationships between lithology, basin form and hydrology : a case study from the Thames Basin, UK. Hydrological Processes, 25 (16). 2518-2530.

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The role of lithology in influencing basin form and function is explored empirically by investigating correlations between a range of catchment variables, where the spatial unit of analysis is not surface catchments but lithologically coherent groundwater units. Using the Thames basin, UK, as a case study, nine groundwater units have been identified. Values for 11 hydrological and geomorphological variables, including rainfall, drainage density, Baseflow Index, aquifer porosity, storage coefficient and log-hydraulic conductivity, aquifer and drainage elevation, river incision, and hypsometric integral have been estimated for each of the groundwater units in the basin, and Pearson correlation coefficients calculated for all pairs of variables. Seven of the correlation coefficients are found to be significant at a confidence level of > 99%. Negative correlations between drainage density and log aquifer hydraulic conductivity, and between drainage density and river incision, and positive correlations between log-hydraulic conductivity and river incision, log-hydraulic conductivity and Baseflow Index, and between Baseflow Index and river incision are inferred to have consistent causal explanations. For example, incision of rivers into aquifers leads to relative increases in hydraulic gradients in the vicinity of rivers which, in turn, promotes the development of secondary porosity increasing both aquifer hydraulic conductivity and, hence, Baseflow Index. The implication of this interpretation is that the geomorphological evolution of basins is intimately linked to the evolution of hydraulic conductivity of the underlying aquifers. This is consistent with, and supports the notion of a coupled complexly evolving surface water-groundwater system.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2010 > Groundwater Science
ISSN: 0885-6087
Additional Keywords: GroundwaterBGS, Groundwater, Catchment processes, Surface water interaction
Related URLs:
Date made live: 14 Oct 2011 14:06 +0 (UTC)

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