Subsurface heterogeneity in the geological and hydraulic properties of the hummocky Paris Moraine, Guelph, Ontario Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The advance and retreat of ice lobe margins of the Laurentide Ice Sheet formed moraines that are a prevalent feature throughout southwestern Ontario. In contrast to the well-studied stratified moraine complexes, recessional and end moraines have largely been ignored in the context of hydrogeological studies. Recent urban growth has led to development pressures on these moraines and a need to better understand their hydrogeology. This study presents data sets from the Paris Moraine near Guelph, Ontario, to examine its geomorphology, internal composition, and the corresponding hydraulic properties of these ice-marginal features. The moraine’s geomorphic elements were mapped using high-resolution Global Positioning System transects, aerial photograph analysis, and ground truthing. Nine continuous sediment cores were recovered to determine the nature and distribution of subsurface sedimentary units and their relation to the regional stratigraphic framework. Cores were described in detail using standard sedimentological techniques, and significant sediment heterogeneity was observed in cross sections. Grain-size analyses of over 150 samples provide site-specific estimates of saturated hydraulic conductivity. In addition, saturated hydraulic conductivity was measured on 104 samples using the falling head permeameter method. This study found that different scales of sediment heterogeneity occur across the moraine and the associated till plain and outwash. In contrast, the hydraulic conductivity varies much less. It is expected that certain sedimentary units at specific depths will impact groundwater flow at the centimetre to hundreds of metres scale, which is significant in environmental site assessments or for understanding contaminant hydrogeological problems.

authors

  • Arnaud, Emmanuelle
  • McGill, Michael
  • Trapp, Andrew
  • Smith, James

publication date

  • July 2018