Dept of Earth & Environmental Sciences
Centre for Environmental and Information Technology (EIT)
200 University Ave. W
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
Phone: (519) 888-4567
Alpine Hydrogeology: The Critical Role of Groundwater in Sourcing the Headwaters of the World
Prof. Masaki Hayashi, Department of Geoscience, University of Calgary and the 2018 Darcy Lecturer
Everyone welcome - refreshments served.
Many of us have been awed by the stunningly beautiful view of alpine lakes and streams- and they are not just beautiful. Nearly half of the world’s population relies on rivers originating in high mountains for water supply. Source areas of mountain streams have rugged topography with sparse soil and vegetation covers, and were once considered “Teflon basins” that have minimum capacity to store groundwater. Over the past decade or so, a new understanding of alpine hydrogeology has been emerging based on detailed field observations around the world. Alpine basins actually have important aquifer units that provide temporary storage of rain and meltwaters from snowpack and glaciers. Gradual release of water from these aquifers sustains streamflow during dry or cold periods, and is critically important for water supply and aquatic habitats in downstream regions. Due to rugged terrain and severely limited vehicle access, alpine hydrogeologists need to rely on creative methods to investigate groundwater, such as geophysical imaging techniques or observation of surface water/groundwater interaction.
This lecture will demonstrate how we can gain valuable insights into groundwater in challenging environments and develop a conceptual understanding of hydrological systems. These ideas and approaches will have broad applicability in a variety of environments, where hydrogeologists are faced with challenging conditions.
About the Darcy Lecture Series
The National Groundwater Association annually selects an outstanding groundwater professional to share their work with peers and students around the world. The Darcy Lecture is hosted at the University of Waterloo by the Department of Earth and Environment Sciences.