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Ground-water intrusions in a mine beneath Høganesbreen, Svalbard: assessing the possibility of evacuating water subglacially

  • Kjetil Melvold (a1), Thomas Schuler (a2) and Gaute Lappegard (a1)

Abstract

Evacuation of the ground-water intruding into a coal mine beneath Høganesbreen, Svalbard, is difficult and expensive. To solve this problem, it was proposed that the mine be connected to the ice–bedrock interface. Pumping hot water from the mine should establish a flow path along the glacier bed where the ground-water would drain gravitationally. In this paper, we assess the requirements for maintaining such a drainage system in open-channel conditions. To obtain the bedrock topography, we determined the ice thickness by ground-penetrating radar and subtracted it from the surface elevation measured by global positioning system. A measured temperature profile at the site where the mine should connect to the glacier bed (140m depth) revealed that the basal ice is below the pressure-melting point. The locations of major subglacial conduits were estimated using a hydraulic-potential approach. We adopted a model oftime-dependent discharge through a Röthlisberger channel to calculate a set of scenarios using different flow-law parameters. Results of the simulations suggest that for the given conditions, water flow would be pressurized, thereby inhibiting the gravitational drainage of the mine.

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References

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