Saline Intrusion and Hydrogeophysics


Dr Malcolm Ingham

Hydrogeophysics is the application of geophysical techniques to hydrological problems. These include detection of aquifers, detection and monitoring of aquifer contamination, including through the intrusion of seawater into coastal aquifers, and the determination of the hydrological properties of aquifers. For example, saline intrusion is the flow of sea water into coastal aquifers, which since both global demand for water is increasing and climate change models predict a rise in sea level and changing rainfall patterns, is potentially a major future problem that cannot be ignored.

We primarily use electrical geophysical techniques to address a range of hydrological problems. These include the identification of the freshwater-saltwater boundary in New Zealand's coastal aquifers, study of the dynamic behaviour of the saline interface in response to tidal and seasonal changes, developing methods for early detection of saline intrusion, and the use of spectral induced polarization (IP) and induced polarization (SIP) to relate the electrical properties of aquifers to hydraulic properties.

We work with local and regional councils and groundwater researchers in the private sector.

Current and recent student research projects

  • Eva Sutter (PhD - current), Investigation of geophysical methods for detection of saline intrusion
  • Sheen Joseph (PhD - current), The application of SIP to determining hydraulic conductivity

Available student research projects

Interested students should in the first instance contact Malcolm Ingham. Well qualified students are encouraged to apply for Victoria University of Wellington PhD and MSc Scholarships.

  • Field application spectral induced polarization to measuring the hydraulic properties of New Zealand aquifers (PhD or MSc)