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Introducing Hydrogeology

HydrogeologyIntroducing Hydrogeology is another addition to the “Introducing Earth and Environmental Sciences” series by Dunedin Academic Press, which focuses on providing elementary understanding of the sub-disciplines within the Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Hydrogeology is critical part of applied geology and deals with the distribution and movement of water in Earth’s crust. Groundwater transport is an important part of the overall hydrological cycle in which water is transferred by evaporation from the oceans and seas into the atmosphere. This cycles back to the ground through precipitation and some percolates underground, to become groundwater. This process imprints distinct chemical signatures on the water dependent on the rock type the water contacts, and migration can occur over a period of a few weeks to tens of thousands of years.

Hydrogeology intersects a variety of disciplines that do not strictly fall within the science of geology, including hydrology, climatology and socioeconomics. Therefore, this guide describes the base concepts of groundwater flow analysis in simple language and avoids specialised jargon or detailed analysis of the topic (there is also a glossary). The book 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 several 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.

The book will appeal to Earth scientists and engineers not familiar with the topic, as well as students and non-scientists looking for a basic text on the subject. The emphasis of the book is the underlying measure of the importance of hydrogeology to society, and this is communicated through example topics such as climate change impact, water scarcity, nuclear waste repositories and oil shale fracking.

Dr Nicholas Robins worked for much of his career as a hydrogeologist with the British Geological Survey, both in the UK and overseas, including extensive periods in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Central America. He has also been involved with research into radioactive waste disposal. As the current Editor-in-Chief for the International Association of Hyrdogeologists he is well placed to review contemporary literature in the field.

A definition I was once given of an expert is not how much they can write on a topic but rather how well they can explain that topic in a few words. By this definition Nick Robbins is an expert in hydrogeology and succeeds in providing a readable and successful introduction to hydrogeology in a slim volume. I strongly recommended this book or those interested in pursuing hydrogeology as a discipline.

Reviewed by Rob Bowell

INTRODUCING HYDROGEOLOGY by Nicholas Robins (2020). Dunedin Academic Press, 115 pp. (pbk, also available as an eBook), ISBN: 978-178046-078-9 List Price: £14.99 W: