Biogeochemical & Microbial analyses of deep saline hotwater aquifer in the Weardale granite

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Civil Engineering and Geosciences


Opportunities to sample relatively undisturbed deep subsurface microbial communities rarely arise. This outline for an Urgency proposal relates to one such rare opportunity to sample a deep hot, saline aquifer in Eastgate, Weardale, and conduct microbiological and geochemical analyses on the samples. This will provide both fundamental data on the microbiota of a rarely explored environment and geochemical data that will provide clues to the source of the hot water and hence other potential areas for geothermal energy recovery, which could be contribute to the UK's renewable energy portfolio. Analysis of hydrogen and oxygen isotopes will be used to identify the source of the deep groundwater, chemical analysis will define the geochemical environment and process measurements coupled with analysis of the bacterial and archaeal communities will provide information on what supports the deep biosphere in this deep, hot saline aquifer.


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Description Identification of microbial communities in deep granitic groundwater with evidence that the communities are driven by chemoautotrophic primary producers with a range of other organisms living on the organic carbon produced by these organisms.
Exploitation Route The findings are being used in relation to geothermal energy developments that have recently been initiated in Newcastle.
Sectors Energy,Environment