Home Institution: University of Trieste
Host Institution: Utrecht University
Duration of stay(days): 14
Objectives: This STSM’s major objective is to broaden the understanding of groundwater flow system of the Venetian-Friulan Plain by building a three-dimensional groundwater flow model using state of the art modelling tools and methods. Based on stratigraphic data and seismic lines, a geological model of the region has already been developed and will serve as the basis for building this three-dimensional groundwater model. The study area consists of 4 confined aquifers reaching down to a depth of 250 m and extending from the plain offshore to the Adriatic Sea for approximately 15 km. The fundamental goal of the entire research is to assess the North Adriatic Sea’s potential to host offshore freshened groundwater and to provide a quantitative estimate of this resource. This goal fits in perfectly with the goals of the COST action WG1 tasks by providing a useful groundwater modelling case study. Furthermore, the developed groundwater model can be refined in the future to simulate regional groundwater flow under future climate change scenarios or groundwater extractions.
Summary of the work: This Short-Term Scientific Mission at Utrecht University has been invaluable for enhancing my understanding of fundamental groundwater flow principles and concepts. The main objective was developing a groundwater model of the Venetian-Plain and northern Adriatic Sea to investigate the possibility of connections between inland and offshore aquifers, quantifying the inflow of freshwater into the offshore aquifers if such connections exist. The primary goal was developing a parallel algorithm using IMOD-WQ to analyse groundwater flow and salinity within a geological grid. The initial groundwater model served as a trial simulation, employing simplified geological constraints and boundary conditions over a limited timeframe. This algorithm facilitates the rapid creation of comprehensive groundwater models that account for variable density flow. A successful groundwater model was run for 10,000 years, a task now achievable in just a few minutes using the parallel code. Future objectives include developing a parallel processing to extend the groundwater modelling period to 400,000 years while considering a dynamic geological model that evolves over time. The expanded model will assess the potential intrusion of saltwater during high sea level periods, such as the Holocene transgression, and the potential deposition of freshwater in the current continental shelf during low sea level phases.