GEOL345-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023

Groundwater and Geothermal Systems

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 20 February 2023
End Date: Sunday, 25 June 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 5 March 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 14 May 2023


This course provides an introduction to water in the subsurface environment. The emphasis is on the common unifying concepts that underlie the two main topics covered - groundwater and geothermal systems - and the linkages and differences between them. In addition to the concepts, the students will learn how to observe, measure and/or estimate key parameters, e.g. flow through porous and fractured media, interaction with surface water/springs, and the effects on these parameters from human exploitation (pumping and production). For geothermal systems, this will encompass the liquid and gas phases of water and how surface measurements can provide insights into the deep reservoir. Learning concepts, processes and parameters in groundwater and geothermal systems will be contextualised by the global significance of water and renewable energy resources, and how these are valued and managed in Aotearoa (including matauranga and kaitiakitanga perspectives) and the Pacific.

Learning Outcomes

  • Summary of the course content
    Topic 1 Groundwater hydrology (Leanne Morgan, 12 lectures)
  • Values, state and trends of water in Aotearoa and the Pacific
  • Physical hydrology background
  • Groundwater flow
  • Effects of pumping on groundwater flow
  • Groundwater and surface water interaction
  • Contaminant transport
  • Integrated groundwater management

    Topic 2 Geothermal Systems (Darren Gravley, 12 lectures)
  • Geothermal energy- including mātauranga Māori context
  • Geothermal systems: geologic context
  • Magmatic-hydrothermal processes
  • Permeability: scales and controls
  • Hydrothermal alteration
  • Geothermal system mass and heat transfer
  • Conceptual geothermal model
  • Geothermal production and utilization
  • Geothermal exploration

    Learning outcomes and graduate attributes:
  • Explain the values, state and trends of water, particularly in Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific (BICC1, BICC3, GA1)
  • Define and explain groundwater and geothermal energy, and their mātauranga Māori context (BICC1, BICC3, GA2)
  • Explain how geologic controls, particularly relating to permeability, impact water and heat flow at different scales in groundwater and geothermal systems (EEI1, EEI2)
  • Analyse data and field observations to draw conceptual models and quantify flow for geothermal and groundwater systems (EEI3, EEI4)
  • Propose a strategy for exploration, and sustainable use, of groundwater and geothermal resources (BICC1, BICC4, EEI3, EEI5)
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Biculturally competent and confident

      Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

      Engaged with the community

      Students will have observed and understood a culture within a community by reflecting on their own performance and experiences within that community.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


Any 100 level GEOL course.
MATH101 or equivalent is highly recommended.

Recommended Preparation

MATH101 or its equivalent is highly recommended.

Timetable Note

There are two lectures and one lab each week. There is a half-day field trip Saturday 29 April from 8.30 am to 1 pm.

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Darren Gravley


Leanne Morgan


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Groundwater Hydrology Labs 30% Groundwater Hydrology Labs
Geothermal Systems Labs 30% Geothermal Systems Labs
Final Exam 40% Final Exam

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Boden, David R; Geologic fundamentals of geothermal energy ; CRC Press, 2017.

Information of textbooks and readings for the groundwater component of the course will be provided over LEARN.

Boden DR (2017) Geologic Fundamentals of Geothermal Energy, CRC Press, 399p.

Rowland JV, Simmons SF (2012) Hydrologic, magmatic, and tectonic controls on hydrothermal flow, Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand: Implications for the formation of epithermal vein deposits. Economic Geology, 107(3), 427-457.


Prerequisites: Any 100 level GEOL course.

Recommended preparation: MTH101 or equivalent.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $951.00

International fee $4,750.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see School of Earth and Environment .

All GEOL345 Occurrences

  • GEOL345-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023