Aquifers and shales

If shale gas resources are to be developed in the UK, the implications for groundwater will need to be considered as part of any risk assessment. A step in such an assessment will be to understand and quantify the spatial relationships between the potential shale gas source rocks (including both shales and some clay units) and overlying aquifers.

The aim of this website is to provide an overview, at the national scale, of the spatial relationships between principal aquifers and some of the major shale and clay units in England and Wales. This is done through a series of national scale aquifer/shale separation maps and supporting information about the geology and hydrogeology of the rock units.

Maps


A series of occurrence maps shows the distribution of rock units that form the principal aquifers and some major shale and clay units in England and Wales. In addition, a series of separation maps show the vertical separation between pairs of shales or clays and overlying aquifers.

Background information


Groundwater is an important source of water for public supply, industry and agriculture, and it also sustains flow in our rivers and environmentally important wetlands. Find out more about groundwater and how it is protected, as well as where shale gas forms (in both shales and some clays), how shale gas is produced and what impacts this may have on groundwater.

Data

Illustration of binary code.  ©iStockphoto.com/polygraphus
The data used to prepare the maps are available to download. Follow the link above to find out how to download the data as well as information describing the methods that were used to produce the maps.

Contact

Please contact Dr Rob Ward for more information.