Pauline English, Steven Lewis, Joseph Bell, John Wischusen, Maria Woodgate, Evgeniy Bastrakov, Mike Macphail, Penny Kilgour




НазваниеPauline English, Steven Lewis, Joseph Bell, John Wischusen, Maria Woodgate, Evgeniy Bastrakov, Mike Macphail, Penny Kilgour
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Water for Australia’s arid zone – identifying and assessing Australia’s palaeovalley groundwater resources: summary report

Pauline English, Steven Lewis, Joseph Bell, John Wischusen, Maria Woodgate, Evgeniy Bastrakov, Mike Macphail, Penny Kilgour

Waterlines Report Series No 86, August 2012



Waterlines

This paper is part of a series of works commissioned by the National Water Commission on key water issues. This work has been undertaken by Geoscience Australia on behalf of the National Water Commission.


© Commonwealth of Australia 2012

This work is copyright.

Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission. Requests and enquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to the Communications Director, National Water Commission, 95 Northbourne Avenue, Canberra ACT 2600 or email bookshop@nwc.gov.au.

Online ISBN: 978-1-922136-01-5 
Water for Australia’s arid zone – identifying and assessing Australia’s palaeovalley groundwater resources: summary report

Authors: P English, S Lewis, J Bell, J Wischusen, M Woodgate, E Bastrakov, M Macphail, P Kilgour.

Published by the National Water Commission
95 Northbourne Avenue
Canberra ACT 2600
Tel: 02 6102 6000
Email: enquiries@nwc.gov.au

Date of publication: August 2012

Cover design by: Angelink
Front cover image courtesy Pauline English, 2008

Waterhole in Cotton Creek near Parnngurr community, Karlamilyi National Park (formerly Rudall River National Park) in the Paterson Province, Western Australia. This waterhole is located between the Great Sandy Desert and the Little Sandy Desert. The creek is incised into granite-gneiss of the Proterozoic Rudall Complex (approximately 1775 million years old) and may have originally been scoured by glaciers melting from the Pilbara Ice Cap during the Permian, around 290 million years ago. The creek is ephemerally active, draining a large area of incised bedrock ranges, and flows north into the Great Sandy Desert where its outwash flood deposits terminate against large sand dunes 20 km north of the ranges. Eucalyptus camaldulensis ssp. arida (coolibah) grow at the water line, indicative of reliable watertables. The creek is characterised by sandy alluvium that may provide suitable bore sites for future high-quality water supplies for the community of over 100 Martu traditional owners at Parnngurr whose current water supplies are of poor quality.

An appropriate citation for this report is:
English et al. 2012, Water for Australia’s arid zone – identifying and assessing Australia’s palaeovalley groundwater resources: summary report, Waterlines report, National Water Commission, Canberra.

Disclaimer

T

his paper is presented by the National Water Commission for the purpose of informing discussion and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Commission.


Contents


Contents iv

Tables vi

Figures vii

Abbreviations and acronyms xi

Units xiii

Acknowledgements xiv

Executive summary xvii

1. Introduction 1

1.1 The need to know more about palaeovalley groundwater 1

1.1.1 Western Australia 3

1.1.2 South Australia 3

1.1.3 Northern Territory 4

1.2 The Palaeovalley Groundwater Project: background and overview 4

1.3 Study locations 5

1.4 Project objectives 7

1.5 This summary report: focus and format 7

1.6 Related outputs from the Palaeovalley Groundwater Project 8

1.7 Palaeovalley definitions and terminology 8

2. Demonstration site investigations 11

2.1 Gawler-Eucla 11

2.1.1 Research objectives 13

2.1.2 Field investigation program 14

2.1.3 Hydrogeochemical characterisation 15

2.1.4 Conceptual model of the Kingoonya Palaeovalley aquifer 16

2.2 Murchison 18

2.2.1 Research program and objectives 20

2.2.2 Field investigation program 20

2.2.3 Hydrostratigraphy 20

2.2.4 Hydrogeochemistry 22

2.2.5 Summary, conclusions and recommendations 23

2.3 Paterson 25

2.3.1 Research program and objectives 27

2.3.2 Palaeovalley examples 27

2.3.3 Hydrogeochemistry 36

2.3.4 Summary, conclusions and recommendations 36

2.4 Ti Tree 38

2.4.1 Research program and objectives 40

2.4.2 Field investigation program 40

2.4.3 Hydrostratigraphy 41

2.4.4 Summary and conclusions 43

2.5 Wilkinkarra 45

2.5.1 Field investigation program 45

2.5.2 Wilkinkarra and Kintore Palaeovalleys 45

2.5.3 The Central Mount Wedge Basin 47

2.5.4 Summary and conclusions 48

2.6 Summary of demonstration site investigations 50

3. Palaeovalley regional mapping in Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory 52

3.1 Mapping objectives 52

3.2 Time and budget constraints 53

3.3 Development of the Palaeovalley Map 54

3.3.1 Existing mapping data 54

3.3.2 Remote-sensing imagery 55

3.3.3 Digital elevation models and derived products 56

3.3.4 Applying other data sets and information 61

3.3.5 Limitations with the MrVBF 64

3.3.6 Summary of inputs for the WASANT Palaeovalley Map 66

3.3.7 State/territory-specific mapping variations 66

3.4 Application of the WASANT Palaeovalley Map 68

3.5 Highlights and suggestions for further development 69

3.6 Conclusions 70

4. Towards an improved understanding of palaeovalley groundwater systems in arid Australia 71

4.1 Spatial distribution and variability 71

4.1.1 GIS analysis using the WASANT Palaeovalley Map 74

4.2 Origin and evolution 75

4.3 Stratigraphy and sediment sequences 78

4.3.1 Stratigraphic complexity and heterogeneity 78

4.3.2 Discriminating valley infill sediments from weathered bedrock 79

4.4 Groundwater resources 84

4.4.1 Estimating palaeovalley groundwater resource volumes 84

4.4.2 Palaeovalley aquifers as multi-component water-bearing systems 85

4.4.3 Capacity for enhanced lateral and vertical inflow 87

4.5 Hydrogeochemistry 88

4.5.1 Groundwater quality and salinity 88

4.5.2 Major ion compositions 88

4.5.3 Oxygen and deuterium isotopes 92

4.5.4 Trace elements 93

4.5.5 Groundwater residence times 95

5. Key project outcomes, major recommendations and lessons learnt 98

5.1 Key project outcomes 98

5.2 Recommendations 101

5.2.1 Improved management of palaeovalley groundwater resources 101

5.2.2 Exploration and assessment approaches 102

5.2.3 Potential future research opportunities in arid-zone hydrogeology 103

5.3 Lessons learnt 105

Glossary 106

Bibliography 114

Appendix 1 – International stratigraphic chart 121

Appendix 2 – Northern Territory palaeovalley systems 123

Appendix 3 – Palynostratigraphy for hydrogeological investigations 129

A3.1 Principles for palynostratigraphic investigation for hydrogeology 129

A3.1.1 Sampling sites 130

A3.1.2 Sediment types 130

A3.1.3 Sample selection 130

A3.1.4 Processing methods 131

A3.1.5 Microscope equipment 131

A3.1.6 Palynostratigraphic schema 131

A3.2 Summary 132


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