Regional groundwater flow dynamics and residence times in Chaudière-Appalaches, Québec, Canada : insights from numerical simulations

Authors: Janos, Débora
Advisor: Molson, JohnLefebvre, René
Abstract: As part of the PACES III project in the Chaudière-Appalaches region, south of Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, the study herein presents insights into the extent to which regional groundwater quality is shaped by flow dynamics. In this context, 2D numerical modelling is used to simulate regional flow, transport of groundwater age and the possible influence of a fault on groundwater quality. Combining physical and chemical hydrogeological knowledge, including an analysis of ¹⁴C concentrations in sampled groundwater, leads to the development of a regional conceptual flow model. The conceptual model is tested by representing the system with a two-dimensional numerical flow model oriented in the vertical plane roughly south-north towards the St. Lawrence River using the FLONET code. The model is first calibrated to regional piezometry through a semi-automated workflow using PEST and is then validated with average recharge values. Although some evidence for deeper regional flow exists, the area appears to be dominated by local flow systems on maximum length scales of about 5 km, with significant flow through the shallow fractured sedimentary rock aquifer. This regional scale flow model is also supported by the local hydrogeochemical signatures. Active flow appears contained within the top 40 m to 60 m of the fractured bedrock, which confirms that the geochemical signatures of groundwater sampled from residential wells are likely affected by the slow moving waters of the intermediate and regional flow systems. Advective-dispersive transport of groundwater age is then simulated with the TR2 transport model and compared with advective travel times and sampled ¹⁴C water ages. Finally, the possible role of the Jacques-Cartier River fault on regional flow dynamics is investigated by testing various fault permeability configurations.
Document Type: Mémoire de maîtrise
Issue Date: 2017
Open Access Date: 24 April 2018
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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