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Accueil du site → Master → Afrique du Sud → 2020 → Hydrogeochemistry of shallow karoo basin aquifers in the border-kei region flanking the Indian Ocean, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Nelson Mandela University (2020)

Hydrogeochemistry of shallow karoo basin aquifers in the border-kei region flanking the Indian Ocean, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Jeppesen, Keegan

Titre : Hydrogeochemistry of shallow karoo basin aquifers in the border-kei region flanking the Indian Ocean, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Auteur : Jeppesen, Keegan

Université de soutenance : Nelson Mandela University

Grade : Master of Science in Geology 2020

Résumé
As the potential for shale gas exploitation becomes a real possibility across parts of the Karoo in South Africa, and groundwater is one of the systems that could become heavily stressed if the shale gas industry becomes operational, it is important therefore to gain a better understanding into the hydrogeochemical systems and processes that occur within the Karoo Basin. Groundwater systems are very complex and are heavily relied upon in many areas across the Karoo that are surface water deficient. Groundwater is used domestically, for irrigation and livestock as well as in industry. A hydrogeochemical baseline investigation was undertaken in the shallow Karoo Basin aquifers (< 100 m) of the Border-Kei region with in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, which flanks the Indian Ocean. Since it has been suggested that seawater might be used as a potential fracking fluid, it is important to also establish baseline data linked to potential seawater salinisation in the coastal aquifers. This was achieved by sampling water from both 35 production and 3 non-production boreholes (by making use of a bailer and discrete interval sampler). Water from all 38 samples was analysed for major anions and cations, trace elements as well as for δ 18O and δ 2H stable isotopes. Results indicate that the majority of the groundwater in the study area falls within acceptable limits for domestic use, and although slightly saline, is exploitable for other uses as well. It was also found that dolerite dykes that have intruded into the Karoo Basin sediments have slight effects on the groundwater chemistry, but that these effects are also masked by the water-rock interactions occurring with the aquifer. It was also determined with major ions and stable isotopes that although the coastal aquifers do have saline signatures (EC > 200 mS/m) this is not due to salinisation via seawater intrusion. It is instead postulated that the salinity arises from marine aerosols that have introduced NaCl onto the soil layer, and which then leaches into the groundwater system through precipitation or irrigation. In the event of shale gas extraction through fracking or the expansion of rural and urban centres, this project serves as a preliminary hydrogeochemical baseline before any of these processes proceed within the Karoo Basin.

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