Potential recharge to groundwater estimation, grid dataset, McBride Basalt Province
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This grid dataset is an estimation of the relative surface potential for recharge within the McBride Basalt Province. This process combined numerous factors together as to highlight the areas likely to have higher potential for recharge to occur. Soil permeability and surface geology are the primary inputs. Vegetation and slope were excluded from consideration, as these were considered to add too much complexity. Furthermore, this model does not include rainfall intensity – although this is known to vary spatially through average rainfall grids, this model is a depiction of the ground ability for recharge to occur should a significant rainfall event occur in each location.
The relative surface potential recharge presented is estimated through a combination of soil and geological factors, weighting regions that are considered likely to have greater potential for recharge (e.g. younger basalts, vent-proximal facies, and highly permeable soils).
Near-surface permeability of soil layers has been considered as a quantified input to the ability for water to infiltrate soil strata.
It was hypothesised that locations proximal to volcanic vents would be preferential recharge sites, due to deeply penetrative columnar jointing. This suggestion is based on observations in South Iceland, where fully-penetrating columnar joint sets are more prevalent in proximal facies compared to distal facies in South Iceland (Bergh & Sigvaldson 1991). To incorporate this concept, preferential recharge sites are assumed to be within the polygons of vent-proximal facies as derived from detailed geological mapping datasets.
Remaining geology has been categorised to provide higher potential recharge through younger lava flows. As such, a ranking between geological units has been used to provide the variation in potential recharge estimates.
Bergh, S. G., & Sigvaldason, G. E. (1991). Pleistocene mass-flow deposits of basaltic hyaloclastite on a shallow submarine shelf, South Iceland. Bulletin of Volcanology, 53(8), 597-611. doi:10.1007/bf00493688
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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence
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The relative surface potential recharge is depicted as a grid. This model is a depiction of the ground ability for recharge to occur should a significant rainfall event occur in each location, and so does not include the spatial variability of rainfall intensity or amounts. The purpose of this grid is to depict areas within the McBride Basalt Province that are more or less likely to provide recharge to the groundwater system.
The input datasets are soil layers and surface geological units.
Soil data acquired from ASRIS provided soil permeability information. The near-surface permeability was used as this is the first layer through which water would travel. It was classified into discrete classes, based on the ASRIS handbook (CSIRO 2012, p51), and then scores assigned.
Ks1 range Score Description
30-300 8 highly permeable (10 is level above which isn’t here)
3-30 6 moderately permeable
0.3-3 3 low permeable
0.03 -0.3 1 very low permeable
<0.03 0 blank (remove?) as impermeable
Surface geology, based on the Queensland Detailed surface geology polygons, was considered in several stages. Firstly a mask was used to exclude areas outside the McBride Basalt Province, namely the areas of outcropping Palaeozoic basement rocks.
It was hypothesised that locations proximal to volcanic vents would be preferential recharge sites, due to deeply penetrative columnar jointing. This suggestion is based on observations in South Iceland, where fully-penetrating columnar joint sets are more prevalent in proximal facies compared to distal facies in South Iceland (Bergh & Sigvaldson 1991). To incorporate this concept, it was decided that polygons mapped as having vent-proximal facies (i.e. “/v” in the mapping code) would be provided a weighting score of 7.
The remaining geology was incorporated with the thought that recent lava flows retain blocky structures, while weathering has smoothed out the surfaces of the oldest lava flows to begin soil development. As such, older basalts have lower weighting scores compared to the youngest. Within this rating, sedimentary units have been considered: alluvium is weighted higher than most, while lacustrine clays and silts are weighted lower. However most sedimentary units are given a moderate score, with a reliance on the soil Ks values to discriminate units. Standing surface water bodies have been deemed a score of 0, as these are sites of water without geological units mapped; standing water is likely a location of discharge as opposed to recharge.
This results in the following geological scoring table:
Unit Score Notes
Kinrara Basalt, Murronga Basalt 10 The two most permeable units as these are the youngest and blockiest lava flows
Undara Basalt 8 Quite young and permeable
Lava tubes 12 Likely localised recharge through collapsed lava tubes of the Undara Basalt
Racecourse Kbob Basalt, Boomerang Basalt, Mount Razorback Basalt 7 Relatively young basalt
Alluvium (clay, silt, sand/gravel) 7 Assumed to be relatively permeable
Silent Hill Basalt, Mount Joy Basalt 6 Relatively young basalt
Colluvium (clay, silt, gravel); Black soil (mix – let Ks sort out) 5 Mixed sediments, using Ks values to discriminate
Middle Mountain Basalt 4 Moderate score
Depression Basalt; McBride Basalt/1; McBride Basalt/2 3 Relatively low scores for older named lava flows
Qbn, TQbn, Allensleigh Basalt
Lake deposits (clay,silt) 3 Lake deposits have low score
McBride Basalt Group undifferentiated 2 Relatively low scores for undifferentiated lavas, these are likely oldest parts of the Group
Any Cenozoic volcanics in the area not part of McBride sequence (e.g. Tb-QLD; & Wallaroo Basalt) 1 Oldest lava flows have diminished score. These are less permeable and not part of the McBride Basalt Group, but may be hydraulically connected
Vents 0 (7) 0 in the general phase
7 in the separate layer
Vents are considered in the separate layer
Outcropping Palaeozoic units; water bodies 0 Exclusion
Apart from the exclusion areas (which were masked out by using a zero multiplier), the various factors were added together for the McBride. Due to inconsistencies with soil mapping in the McBride, the various factors were added together but with less weight applied to the soils. This produced a relative high and low across all the considered factors. There is no unit to this overall score, so there cannot be a direct calculation of the recharge rates. It was considered inappropriate to perform this without sufficient field validation.