Shallow geological sequences can vary significantly with depth, particularly where the superficial geology is very complex and where the lithology is highly variable. In these circumstances it can be difficult to assess the shallow geology from the surface geological map.

Having a good understanding of the shallow geology is very important for hydrogeological investigations, e.g. for assessing groundwater vulnerability, determining groundwater recharge and infiltration capacity, and perched water tables. 

Using existing datasets such as our 3D geological models, borehole logs and hydrogeological maps in combination with local hydrogeological expertise, we are developing national-scale hydro-domains to synthesise our conceptual understanding of shallow geological systems and the hydrogeological setting.  

The concept of hydro-domains is well established and has already been used in parts of the UK e.g. to assess hydrogeological pathways in Manchester and the Tees area for the Environment Agency.  Our national scale hydro-domains will provide a useful tool for planners, regulators, water engineers and ground engineers undertaking hydrogeological investigations.

Further Reading

McMillan, A A, Heathcote, J A, Klink, B A, Shepley, M G, Jackson, C P and Degan, P J.  2000.  Hydrogeological characterization of the onshore Quaternary sediments at Sellafield using the concept of domains. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, 33, 301–323.

Price, S J, Banks, V, Cooper, A H, Wildman, G, Kessler, H, Burke, H F, Terrington, R, Bridge, D and Shepley, M.  2006.  3-D hydrogeological characterisation of the superficial deposits between Doncaster and Retford. British Geological Survey Internal Report, CR/06/027. 30pp.

Lelliott, M R, Bridge D McC, Kessler, H, Price S J, Seymour, K J.  2006.  The application of 3D geological modelling to aquifer recharge assessments in an urban environment. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, 39, 293–302.


If you would like to learn more about the hydro-domains project or help shape the hydro-domains dataset please contact Stephanie Bricker for more information.