Modelling large-scale groundwater systems in Australian basins

Pore-water within a basin flows in response to supply, extraction, topography, and imposed pressure gradients. Changes to these parameters in complex, tectonically active basins require complex, 3D, coupled models to understand. This project is concerned with developing, testing and applying such models.

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Louis Moresi
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Forming a Basin
Basin tectonic models that account for surface water, erosion and sedimentation can be coupled with subsurface flow models

A sedimentary basin is formed and deformed by thermal / tectonic processes and filled by the transport of sediment from higher ground. Pore water within the basin will flow in response to topographic driving pressure, injection, and extraction and it will tend to follow paths with higher permeability. On a whole-of-basin scale, many of these variables are unknown and, at present, unknowable, so a reasonable approach is to build simplified models and run ensembles that cover a range of likely parameters.

This project will help develop, test and apply these models based on state-of-the-art modelling. The Basin Genesis Hub (BGH) is a research centre focused on developing tools for modelling coupled thermal, mechanical evolution of basins together with the evolution of the surface drainage, sediment pathways and large-scale subterranean fluid flow. These tools are all open source and available for application to any basin setting around the world. Many of the BGH tools were developed by the ANU group which means we have access to the latest simulation software for this project (see for inspiration). The coupling between surface evolution, tectonics and groundwater links geology, geodynamics and environmental science and the projects will provide training in  how to run numerical models and will provide in cloud computing, supercomputing and python.



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Associate Director Education