Please note: the information in the course manual is binding.
The course is part of the UU Porous Media minor and the TU/e Porous Media elective package. The course is offered in the UU timeslot 3 B, that matches with the A and C timeslots at TU/e (Tuesday morning and Thursday afternoon).
This course aims at giving a broad introduction to the role of water in a variety of geo processes. The nature of these processes ranges from rather fundamental to applied. Amongst others, we mention, flow of groundwater, contamination of surface and groundwater, geothermal energy, subsurface storage of CO2, chemical tracers in groundwater, storage of radioactive waste, surface water hydrology in urban areas, etc. The lecturers are all leading in their academic field of expertise. Several lecturers are from Deltares and national engineering/consulting companies (TAUW, DHV, IF-Technology, etc). The course includes (if possible) one or more, short field/site visits to link the theoretical lectures to the ‘real-world’ practice. After completing this course, the students have a thorough insight in the role of water in a variety of geo processes.
The following lectures (can be subject to minor changes) are included in this course:
- Groundwater hydrology by Prof dr. R.J. Schotting. This includes a short introduction to the role of groundwater in geo processes, not only at the local, i.e. Dutch scale, but also in an international/environmental context.
- Storage of radioactive waste in geological formations by Prof dr. S.M. Hassanizadeh. Long-term storage of radioactive waste is considered in salt domes and in thick clay layers like the Boomse Klei. In case of subsurface calamities, groundwater is considered to be the main carrier of radionuclides into the biosphere.
- Geothermal energy by dr. Collin Peach. The sun seems to be an interesting sustainable source of thermal energy, but there is also a reliable source of thermal energy under our feet: geothermal energy. Water is the medium to produce this energy resource. The interaction between fluid and (hot) fractured rock and aquifers is of vital importance for optimal thermal energy production.
- Tracers in groundwater by Prof dr. Jack Middelburg. Radioactive and chemical tracers are used to characterize groundwater, in particular to gain more insight in the movement and travel/residence times of water in aquifers.
- Surface water hydrology by Prof dr. Mark Bierkens. The role of surface water in both a global and a local (urban) setting is elucidated in the lectures by Prof Bierkens and several other guest lecturers (Deltares, etc).
- Geo hazards by Prof dr. Theo van Asch. Water plays a central role in al kinds of geo hazards, i.e. ranging from land surface subsidence to tsunamis. A variety of geo hazards is discussed, with the emphasis on the role of water.
- Water on the planet Mars? By dr. Maarten Kleinhans. Deltaic structures have been observed at the surface of Mars. Are they the result of flow of water? This seems very likely according to experimental findings in laboratory. No water can be observed on Mars. Where did it go?
- Guest lecture, subject to be announced (in general a subject related to a news item or something that triggers the interest of the students).
The course includes one or more excursions to a field or laboratory site. Examples are a trip to the HADES laboratory in Mol, Belgium. This is a subsurface laboratory facility, situated 225 meter below ground surface. In this laboratory, Boomse Klei is studied for storage of radioactive waste. Next, we mention a trip to the Amsterdam Duin area. This is a 50 m2 dune area where surface (river) water is used to artificially recharge the groundwater resources. Another example was a recent trip to the center of Utrecht, where aquifer thermal storage is combined with natural/enhanced attenuation of contaminants. Each year, the trip(s) can vary w.r.t. content and goal(s). The excursions are an integral part of the course and all students are expected to participate.