Hydrogeology

Definition

Hydrogeology is the study of the movement and storage of water in the crust of Earth and other rocky planetary bodies. It maps and quantifies the water stored in underground aquifers and occasionally surface systems, identifies pathways of flow and recharge, and assesses the chemical composition and quality of the below-ground water.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    Extreme temperatures and fluid pressures are measured, and their causes modelled, in a borehole into the Alpine Fault, where an earthquake rupture is expected within the next few decades.

    • Rupert Sutherland
    • , John Townend
    • , Virginia Toy
    • , Phaedra Upton
    • , Jamie Coussens
    • , Michael Allen
    • , Laura-May Baratin
    • , Nicolas Barth
    • , Leeza Becroft
    • , Carolin Boese
    • , Austin Boles
    • , Carolyn Boulton
    • , Neil G. R. Broderick
    • , Lucie Janku-Capova
    • , Brett M. Carpenter
    • , Bernard Célérier
    • , Calum Chamberlain
    • , Alan Cooper
    • , Ashley Coutts
    • , Simon Cox
    • , Lisa Craw
    • , Mai-Linh Doan
    • , Jennifer Eccles
    • , Dan Faulkner
    • , Jason Grieve
    • , Julia Grochowski
    • , Anton Gulley
    • , Arthur Hartog
    • , Jamie Howarth
    • , Katrina Jacobs
    • , Tamara Jeppson
    • , Naoki Kato
    • , Steven Keys
    • , Martina Kirilova
    • , Yusuke Kometani
    • , Rob Langridge
    • , Weiren Lin
    • , Timothy Little
    • , Adrienn Lukacs
    • , Deirdre Mallyon
    • , Elisabetta Mariani
    • , Cécile Massiot
    • , Loren Mathewson
    • , Ben Melosh
    • , Catriona Menzies
    • , Jo Moore
    • , Luiz Morales
    • , Chance Morgan
    • , Hiroshi Mori
    • , Andre Niemeijer
    • , Osamu Nishikawa
    • , David Prior
    • , Katrina Sauer
    • , Martha Savage
    • , Anja Schleicher
    • , Douglas R. Schmitt
    • , Norio Shigematsu
    • , Sam Taylor-Offord
    • , Damon Teagle
    • , Harold Tobin
    • , Robert Valdez
    • , Konrad Weaver
    • , Thomas Wiersberg
    • , Jack Williams
    • , Nick Woodman
    •  & Martin Zimmer
    Nature 546, 137–140
  • Research |

    Groundwater that predates the Holocene is commonly assumed to be unaffected by modern contamination. A global analysis of fossil groundwater suggests that modern contaminants are present in deep wells that tap fossil aquifers.

    • Scott Jasechko
    • , Debra Perrone
    • , Kevin M. Befus
    • , M. Bayani Cardenas
    • , Grant Ferguson
    • , Tom Gleeson
    • , Elco Luijendijk
    • , Jeffrey J. McDonnell
    • , Richard G. Taylor
    • , Yoshihide Wada
    •  & James W. Kirchner
    Nature Geoscience 10, 425–429
  • Research |

    Most monitoring of methane well leakage focuses on emissions of methane gas to the atmosphere. In a controlled-release field experiment, significant methane also persisted in aquifer groundwater due to lateral migration along bedding planes.

    • Aaron G. Cahill
    • , Colby M. Steelman
    • , Olenka Forde
    • , Olukayode Kuloyo
    • , S. Emil Ruff
    • , Bernhard Mayer
    • , K. Ulrich Mayer
    • , Marc Strous
    • , M. Cathryn Ryan
    • , John A. Cherry
    •  & Beth L. Parker
    Nature Geoscience 10, 289–294
  • Research |

    The brittle–ductile transition is thought to control crustal permeability. Laboratory experiments and model simulations show that permeability is also stress dependent and ductile granitic rocks may have enough permeability to host geothermal resources.

    • Noriaki Watanabe
    • , Tatsuya Numakura
    • , Kiyotoshi Sakaguchi
    • , Hanae Saishu
    • , Atsushi Okamoto
    • , Steven E. Ingebritsen
    •  & Noriyoshi Tsuchiya
    Nature Geoscience 10, 140–144

News and Comment

  • Comments and Opinion |

    The terrestrial water cycle is often assessed annually at catchment scale. But water stored in catchments is poorly mixed, and at timescales often well beyond the calculation of annual water balance.

    • Jeffrey J. McDonnell
  • News and Views |

    Increasing groundwater extraction supports hundreds of millions of people across the Indo-Gangetic Basin. Data suggests that despite the increase in withdrawals, groundwater depletion is localized and the most widespread threat is contamination.

    • Scott Fendorf
    •  & Shawn G. Benner
    Nature Geoscience 9, 732–733
  • News and Views |

    The Sahel has suffered through severe droughts but recent years have seen increased rainfall. Now research suggests warming of the Mediterranean Sea surface may dictate future rainfall in the region.

    • Michela Biasutti
  • Editorial |

    Groundwater flow meddles with hydrological, environmental and geological processes. As water scarcity issues mount for people living above ground, the vast stores of freshwater in the subsurface require research attention.

  • Comments and Opinion |

    Drought management is inefficient because feedbacks between drought and people are not fully understood. In this human-influenced era, we need to rethink the concept of drought to include the human role in mitigating and enhancing drought.

    • Anne F. Van Loon
    • , Tom Gleeson
    • , Julian Clark
    • , Albert I. J. M. Van Dijk
    • , Kerstin Stahl
    • , Jamie Hannaford
    • , Giuliano Di Baldassarre
    • , Adriaan J. Teuling
    • , Lena M. Tallaksen
    • , Remko Uijlenhoet
    • , David M. Hannah
    • , Justin Sheffield
    • , Mark Svoboda
    • , Boud Verbeiren
    • , Thorsten Wagener
    • , Sally Rangecroft
    • , Niko Wanders
    •  & Henny A. J. Van Lanen