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Submarine groundwater discharge from the Burren plateau into Galway Bay

Submarine groundwater discharge from the Burren plateau into Galway Bay


​This research has been carried under the Geological Survey Ireland 2017 Short Call. This call provided funding for researchers in academia or industry on the island of Ireland for projects of less than 12 months duration and less than €25,000. 

Please note that the final report has been redacted to remove staff, financial and sensitive information. Some file sizes have been reduced to allow easier uploading/downloading, higher quality files are available on request. Supplemental information is also available on request in most cases. Please contact research[AT]

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this report are those of the author(s) and not of Geological Survey Ireland or the Department of Climate Action, Communications and Environment.

Lead Applicant: Prof Laurence Gill

Host: Trinity College Dublin 

Project Title: Submarine groundwater discharge from the Burren plateau into Galway Bay

Project Description: Submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) constitutes an important pathway for contaminant transport into the coastal environment predominantly in karst areas. However, locating and determining the source of a suspected submarine discharge is a challenge. While there are abundant studies on the detection and quantification of SGD, there are remarkably few attempts that actually trace the origin of SGD from the onshore catchment using (artificial) tracers. This proposed study will design a tracer method to study SiGD and SGD applied in the catchment of Bell Harbour, Burren, to be executed along the current research project "Characterisation of diffuse recharge into karst aquifers using chemical and numerical modelling techniques" conducted in the framework of ICRAG until September 2019. Current findings of this projects proved the existence of deep conduits >130 m below sea level that appear to be active carrying water from the catchment offshore into Galway Bay. The exact locations shall be determined, using both insoluble (solid) tracers, (i.e. floating tracers small enough to pass through the main conduits and large enough to detect them on the sea water surface/on the shore) and common artificial soluble tracers such as fluorescein and/or rhodamine to be detected using highly sensitive fluorometers.