NGEK12002U Groundwater Geochemistry

Volume 2013/2014
MSc Programme in Geology and Geoscience

The course attendants will:

  • Evaluate water-rock interactions controlling inorganic groundwater geochemistry and ultimately, drinking water quality.
  • Combine the use of classical methods and the 1D-reactive transport modeling (PHREEQC), to substantiate a qualitative and quantitative interpretation of water chemistry development along flow paths.
  • Trace water chemistry as it develops in the hydrological cycle: in rain water, through the aquifer and to its discharge, by using natural tracers.
  • Formulate problem-specific equations for geochemical processes encountered by moving groundwater, such as mineral dissolution and precipitation, ion exchange, diffusion and dispersion, surface adsorption and redox processes.
  • Use groundwater chemistry data to delineate hydrological processes such as flow paths and travel times, and vice versa.

Exercises and assignments comprise real datasets, presenting the students with major global groundwater quality issues of today.

Learning Outcome


Attendants will acquire knowledge on: Water quality and analysis accuracy; the relation between aqueous inorganic geochemistry, aquifer mineralogy and hydrogeology; controlling geochemical processes/water-rock interaction (mineral dissolution and precipitation, saturation state, ion exchange, surface complexation, redox reactions); diffusion and dispersion in relation to groundwater chemistry; stable isotope hydrology; chemical speciation, batch and 1D reactive transport modeling with PHREEQC (generic aqueous geochemistry code).


Attendants will acquire skills to: Assess quality of water and water analyses; write and make use of reaction equations for various water-rock interactions, and equations for diffusion/dispersion and isotope fractionation; assess controlling geochemical processes based on water analyses, aquifer mineralogy and hydrogeology; conduct chemical speciation, batch and 1D reactive transport modeling with PHREEQC.


Competences acquired: Break-down data sets of water analyses, aquifer mineralogy and hydrology to evaluate qualitatively and quantitatively the geochemical and hydrogeological processes controlling groundwater chemistry and drinking water quality. Combine and reformulate general chemical reaction equations for aqueous and solid-aqueous processes into problem-specific reaction equations which clearly express the nature of the problem. To formulate and test hypotheses, and make predictions, regarding groundwater geochemistry by conducting numerical speciation, batch and reactive transport modeling.

Please see Absalon course page.

BSc in Geology and Geoscience or equivalent
The form of teaching is lectures, class exercises, case studies, and project‐related work.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 136
  • Project work
  • 35
  • Theory exercises
  • 35
  • Total
  • 206
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Oral examination, 20 minutter
The exam takes 20 min. including grading. The student will have a chance to improve a not passed report and resubmit it.
The written assignment is prepared during the course and must be handed in prior to the exam week. The oral exam uses the written assignment as its point of departure. It includes the titles listed in the officially approved reading list.
Exam registration requirements
Submission of written report before exam.
Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assesment

See description of learning outcome