Book review: Introducing Hydrogeology, by Nicolas Robins

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Jon Trevelyan (UK)

This yet another excellent addition to the “Introducing Earth and Environmental Sciences” series by Dunedin, many of which I have favourably reviewed in this magazine.

I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of ‘hydrogeology’ before, but I should have. Hydrogeology is an important and vibrant sub-set of geological science, dealing with the distribution and movement of water –groundwater – in the Earth’s soil and rocks. Groundwater transport is one part of the overall hydrological cycle in which water is transferred by evaporation from the oceans and seas into the atmosphere.

Some of this falls as precipitation and some of this percolates underground, much of it to become groundwater. This travels from areas of higher elevation to discharge points (springs) or to lower surface waters. On its way, it acquires its own distinct chemical signature, which can be a period below ground of a few weeks to tens of thousands of years.

Hydrogeology interacts with a variety of disciplines not strictly falling within the science of geology. These include hydrology, climatology and socio-economics. Therefore, this guide describes the based concepts of groundwater flow analysis in simple language (there is also a glossary), but describes all facets of the science, both physical and chemical, together with topical issues, including climate change and our insatiable demand for water. It also covers a number of other subjects, including aquifers, groundwater flow and numerical analysis, boreholes and testing, the management and quality of groundwater (including pollution, vulnerability and protection), flood, drought and subsidence, and other topical issues.

Dr Nicolas Robins worked for much of his career as a hydrogeologist with the BGS, both in the UK and overseas, including extensive periods in Africa and the Middle East, Asia and Central America. He has also been based at Harwell in Oxfordshire, involved with research into radioactive waste disposal. Furthermore, he is the author and editor of a number of books, and is currently Editor in Chief for the International Association of Hyrdogeologists.

As always, I would recommend this book if you are a student of the subject or just interested in this aspect of science. These Dunedin guides are never expensive (this one is only £14.99), so they are well worth a try.

Introducing Hydrogeology, by Nicolas Robins, Dunedin, Edinburgh and London (2020), 108 pages (paperback and also available as an eBook), ISBN: 978-1780460789

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