Department of Hydrogeology

The Department of Hydrogeology was founded at the Faculty of Geology, Moscow State University, in 1953. The head of the department is prof. S. P. Pozdnyakov

The Department of Hydrogeology offers Bachelors' and Masters' programmes "Hydrogeology, engineering geology, geocryology" with specialization "Hydrogeology", and Masters' programme "Environmental geology" with specialization "Environmental hydrogeology." Within the specialization "Hydrogeology" graduates acquire in-depth knowledge of the problems of formation and use of active zone groundwater, or get engaged in studying hydrogeology of oil and gas fields.

The study at the Department of Hydrogeology is dynamic and interesting. The professors of the Department constantly develop and improve unique teaching methods. Prof. Shtengelov R.S. and prof. Grinevsky S.O. have developed a software package for teaching students. For the second-year students it is a control and training program for the course of general hydrogeology in the form of tests, and in their fifth year, students are to develop a business strategy for the exploration and operation of a large groundwater deposit in the form of a business computer game.

When writing their course and final papers, in the experimental part the students of the Department use modern methods of data processing and hydrogeological process modelling. The department laboratory for mathematical modelling of hydrogeological processes provides computational powers and modern software for modelling geofiltration and geomigration processes that has been developed both in Russia (by experts from the Department and Geolink Consulting) and abroad (American Geological Survey, National Laboratories of the USA, Universities of the USA, Switzerland and Germany).

Modern hydrogeology is one of the most mathematically oriented geological directions. Most of the theoretical and applied hydrogeological calculations - the solution of differential filtration equations, the calculations of physical and chemical transformations in groundwater, the statistical analysis of spatial-temporal regularities of the groundwater regime or the development of constantly operating hydrodynamic models - are objectively feasible only with the use of high-end software, which students master in the process of studying at the department.

An important element in the training of hydrogeologists is the field training and production workshops that take place in the summer, after exams. At the end of the first and second years, practical field trainings are organised for the purpose of studying geodynamic processes and the foundations of geological mapping in the Crimea.

At the end of the third year of study, students travel to the vicinity of the city of Zvenigorod, where the training course on field methods of hydrogeological, engineering-geological, geocryological, geoecological and engineering-geophysical research is held at the MSU biostation.

This field workshop is most important for the training of a specialist. After it, students go on various field trips and expeditions, where they conduct independent research.

The training in Zvenigorod is full of many complex but very interesting tasks. Students survey the location to find out the main features of the geological structure, hydrogeological conditions, real and potential sources of environmental impact. In the course of solving hydrogeological problems, a field chemical laboratory is used, thus students are introduced to modern equipment for conducting experimental work.

The Department has created a unique cluster of hydrogeological wells on the bank of the river Moscow, and students have the opportunity to participate in conducting a training cluster pumping out of an aquifer to determine its geofiltration parameters. Also, due to the creation of an original set of equipment and measuring instruments at the Zvenigorod base, they can learn to handle a task of imitating pollution of the drinking aquifer set up on a specially prepared group of wells!

In the course of field training, students master a whole body of knowledge that they need as highly qualified specialists in their further work (hydrometric works on small rivers in combination with geophysical methods, study of the regime and interaction of groundwater and surface water, geoecological research, etc.).

Scientific investigations of the Department are traditionally held in the following directions: hydrogeodynamics, hydrogeochemistry, use and protection of underground waters of the active water exchange zone, hydrogeology of deep horizons including petroleum hydrogeology.

The first of these directions is connected with the zone of fresh groundwater, which is the most important source of drinking water. To study the regularities in the formation of fresh groundwater resources, the Department develops and applies mathematical models for modelling the processes of transformation of precipitation falling on the surface of the earth, of feeding the groundwater, of the movement of groundwater and its discharge into waterways and reservoirs. Using these models, it is possible to predict how landscapes affect the formation of groundwater and, conversely, how a change in the multi-year balance of groundwater will affect landscapes. Also, with the help of such models it is possible to predict the impact of global climate change on groundwater. This area of geohydrological research at the department is being intensively developed by prof. S.P. Pozdniakov and prof. S.O. Grinevsky, as well as senior researcher. E.A. Filimonova.

The intensive use of groundwater and the development of urbanization leads to the fact that the zone of fresh groundwater is seriously polluted. To predict the processes of pollution and degradation of groundwater quality, to develop measures for their protection, it is necessary to know and understand the physicochemical processes occurring when the water interacts with rocks and pollutants of various nature. An area of research on the study and modelling of these processes, called physical-chemical hydrogeodynamics, is being developed at the department under the supervision of prof. A.V. Lekhova. The department has a hydrogeochemistry laboratory equipped with both field and stationary laboratory equipment that allows rapid analysis of groundwater directly at the site of sampling from a well or a spring, or a more complete analysis in stationary laboratory conditions to diagnose the quality and possible contamination of groundwater.

The use of groundwater as water supply requires an understanding of how the groundwater flow is formed, where it is possible to identify areas of the field that have reserves suitable for water intake facilities that allow the required volume of water of the required quality to be steadily selected. Within the framework of the programme "Formation of Operational Reserves of Groundwaters", the staff of the Department under the supervision of prof. R.S. Shtengelova are developing the methods for assessing operational reserves based on mathematical modelling, analyzing the data from the groundwater regime observations with the purpose of assessing the parameters and characteristics that determine the balance and sources of groundwater taken by water intake facilities.

When solving applied hydrogeological problems associated with the influence of various engineering structures on groundwater, modern hydrogeological studies can not be imagined without the development of mathematical models describing the movement of groundwater and the migration of dissolved substances it contains. Successful application of such models requires an assessment of their parameters and evidence of their adequacy to natural processes. Therefore, in the scientific studies of the Department, a special role is played by the development of methods for assessing geofiltration and geomigration parameters and monitoring the quantity and quality of groundwater. Studies on this topic are conducted by R.S. Shtengelov, A.V. Lekhov, A.A. Maslov, V.N. Samartsev, and other members of the Department.

Presently, groundwater is generally recognized as experiencing a serious negative impact from the economic activity . How does urbanization affect the groundwater in general, what is, for example, the role of urban development, landfills, large industrial enterprises and even individual gas stations? What will happen to the unique natural landscapes with the intensive exploitation of water intakes of underground waters leading to their depletion? All these issues are traditionally considered in the frames of hydrogeoecology developed by M.S. Orlov, K.E. Pityevaya, A.V. Rastorguev, E.Yu. Potapova and others.

The direction of hydrogeology of deep horizons has been an important and promising part of hydrogeology over the past decades, both in our country and abroad.

This is due primarily to the production of oil and gas, whose deposits are formed within aquifers and, accordingly, the production of hydrocarbons that causes chanes in the state of groundwater.

Another important practical aspect of the possible use of deep horizons is the injection of toxic waste into them, which will solve serious environmental problems associated with waste storage and processing on the surface of the earth. Employees of the Department headed by prof. S.P. Pozdnyakova perform research related to assessing the safety of the toxic waste burial in groundwater.

However, practical problems of petroleum hydrogeology and waste disposal can not be successfully solved without understanding the patterns of groundwater movement and the formation of its chemical composition in deep horizons, hydrogeodynamics and hydrogeochemistry of which has been studied much less than the zone of active water exchange. Associate professors А.V. Korzun and Т.А. Kireeva, along with the researcher Kazak E.A., are engaged in the study of these issues.

An interesting direction of the Department's research is hydrogeochemistry of mineral waters. Employees of the Department, headed by prof. ON. Kharitonova, study the conditions for the formation of the chemical composition of mineral groundwater, using the most advanced methods of chemical analysis and thermodynamic calculations.

In addition to the directions mentioned above, all researchers and teachers of the Department participate in solving the most nontrivial problems of applied hydrogeology, which the production organizations can not solve independently, and with which they turn to the Department of hydrogeology of the Faculty of Geology, Moscow State University. Employees of the department, equipped with modern theoretical knowledge in the field of hydrogeodynamics, hydrogeochemistry and regional hydrogeology, as well as a unique experience in solving a large number of practical problems, successfully solve the problems set.


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