Hydrogeology / Environmental Geochemistry Field Excursion

14 Feb.: Enrollments are now closed.

Time: 21 – 25 February 2022,
starting on 21 Feb., at 8.45am at School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Cost: $400 per student (covers accommodation and transportation), Payment

Note: This excursion is part of the UoM GEOL90005 subject.

Contact: Ralf Haese, ralf.haese@unimelb.edu.au


This subject is taught as a 5-day field excursion to the Newer Volcanic Province (near Colac, VIC) and the Limestone Coast (near Mt. Gambier, SA). Field methods such as wellbore tests and lake sampling, field measurements (T, pH, electrical conductivity, Eh) and preliminary laboratory measurements (nutrients and alkalinity using spectrophotometry) will be demonstrated and applied. Two types of aquifers will be discussed in the context of the local geology: volcanic aquifers and limestone aquifers. Short-term and long-term changes in lake water composition and groundwater-dependant ecosystems will be discussed in terms of physical-chemical processes and conditions including surface - groundwater connectivity. Potential nutrient contamination in a limestone aquifer will be assessed through nutrient analysis within a sinkhole.

Intended learning outcomes

Upon completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  • Characterise regional hydraulic systems in the context of the regional geology, water inputs and outputs and the water composition;
  • Demonstrate sampling of waterbores and lakes, water analysis in the field;
  • Predict the evolution of water composition due to changes in the hydraulic system;
  • Predict and explain water – rock reactions in the subsurface.

Generic skills

Upon the completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  • work in a small team;
  • develop scientific approaches to solve complex questions;
  • think critically and independently;
  • prepare structured and concise reports and oral presentations. 


Team presentation (5-10 minutes of presentation by each student) on 01 March, 11am – 1.00pm, 30% of final mark

Field Report due in teaching week 3 (starting on 14 March), 70% of final mark

Hosted by: University of Melbourne 

This subject has been cancelled for 2022.

Location: tbc

Subject content:  

This subject will cover advanced concepts in groundwater physics and chemistry, and is intended to present a selection of topics at the forefront of academic/government research and commercial/industrial applications in groundwater science. Hydrogeology is an inherently quantitative and cross-disciplinary subject that requires self-motivation and active engagement with the material.


Working knowledge of hydrogeology and some background in geoscience or environmental science.  Recommended knowledge: Algebra, basic calculus.  For a review of Hydrogeology, visit the online U.S. Geological Survey Water Science School (URL below).  (This is actually good pre-class review material!)


Lectures:  Lectures will present fundamental concepts and theory behind the scheduled topics.  Practical exercises will be assigned that will require you to think and work your way through the questions. Groups of 4 students will be assigned in practical Zoom sessions, but you are responsible for your own learning for the final exam and individual practicals.

Assessment: 4 x 10% practical exercises = 40%, 1 x 3-hr written final exam = 60%.

What you need to work remotely: 

Lectures and practicals will be delivered using Zoom. You can download and install zoom from www.zoom.us/download and login using your University of Melbourne credentials.

Practical exercises are best completed and written up by hand. Therefore, some way of digitising the practicals for submission will be required (E.g. digital camera or graphic tablet). Practical answers should be digitised in a logical order and compiled as a PDF document or clearly labelled images to be emailed to the lecturer for assessment.

Scientific calculator

Lined A4 Notebook to write up practical exercises.

Having a ruler for measuring distances would help. Grey led pencil and different coloured pens.



The schedule has been staggered over 2 weeks to allow extra time for the practicals to be worked through and digitised for submission and assessment.

See the attached PNG image document below under Files for a detailed schedule of lectures and practicals to be held as Zoom sessions.

Lecturer: Dr. Jay Black (Find an Expert Profile)

Course and assessment information can be found at: https://handbook.unimelb.edu.au/subjects/erth90034