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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.
Summary of the course contentTopic 1 Groundwater hydrology (Leanne Morgan, 12 lectures)Values, state and trends of water in Aotearoa and the PacificPhysical hydrology backgroundGroundwater flow Effects of pumping on groundwater flowGroundwater and surface water interactionContaminant transportIntegrated groundwater managementTopic 2 Geothermal Systems (Darren Gravley, 12 lectures)Geothermal energy- including mātauranga Māori contextGeothermal systems: geologic contextMagmatic-hydrothermal processesPermeability: scales and controlsHydrothermal alterationGeothermal system mass and heat transferConceptual geothermal modelGeothermal production and utilizationGeothermal explorationLearning 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)
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.
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.
MATH101 or its equivalent is highly recommended.
Students must attend one activity from each section.
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.
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.
Domestic fee $978.00
International fee $4,988.00
* 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