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Lecture 16: Groundwater Answers

1) What percentage (approximate) of the hydrospheres fresh water is


groundwater?
a.
b.
c.
d.

75%
22%
48%
95%

2) The water table is defined as:


a. The surface which separates the saturated and unsaturated
zones
b. Permeable rock strata which stores and transmits groundwater
c. The elevation corresponding with sea level
d. An aquifer which is uncapped by a confining layer
3) You have a graduated cylinder filled with 1000mL of sand. You add water to
the sand until it is saturated and notice that it takes 400mL of water to do
this. Calculate the porosity.
Porosity = volume of water/total volume
= 400/1000
=0.40
4) Name two types of groundwater reservoirs and name the strata that act as
confining layers. What is the difference between these two types of
groundwater reservoirs?
Acquitard: semi-permeable it slows down the movement of water
Aquiclude: impermeable rock layer water can not penetrate into this
layer
5) What two characteristics of rock determine whether it will be a good
groundwater reservoir? Give an example of rock which has these two
characteristics.
High porosity
High Permeability
Quartz sandstone
6) What is the velocity of groundwater flow in sand if we know the hydraulic
gradient to be 0.025? Convert to m/year. Check slides for values of constants.

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7) You are at the bank of stream in which the known height of the water table is
above the height of the observed stream bed. What type of interaction
between the stream and water table will be observed?
This will be a gaining stream. There will be an inflow of groundwater
through the stream bed.
8) What problems are associated with excessive groundwater withdrawal?
Subsidence: Ground sinks when water is pumped too quickly for the
natural recharge process to replace the extracted water.
Saltwater contamination: excessive groundwater causes saltwater to be
drawn into the wells.
9) You doing field work which involves collecting water samples at a lake which
is 115 m above sea level. This lake is located 4.5 km away from a separate
lake 128 m above sea level, which has been contaminated. Should you be
worried about finding this contaminate in your field samples in the near
future? Show your calculations to back up your conclusion. Assume the
material between the two lakes is sand.

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No you should not be worried as it will take 1500 years for the water to
flow from the contaminated lake to the field site.
10)Groundwater is mildly acidic and this characteristic is responsible for many
depositional features such as stalactites and stalagmites. Describe the
process by which these features form.

Due to the acidic nature of groundwater, limestone rock is dissolved.


With an understanding of the following chemical reaction:
CaCO3 + CO2 + H2O Ca2+ + 2HCO3We see the deposition of CaCO3 (calcite) as CO2 is allowed to escape.