What is the relative importance of soil water versus bedrock groundwater?

While most of Prairies are relatively flat, the Pembina escarpment (also called Manitoba escarpment) is a striking topographic feature responsible for the presence of few steep-sloped landscapes in Manitoba. Because the escarpment is associated with the presence of different shale units and bedrock fractures, however, its impact on regional hydrology is probably much more complex than we think. To start tackling that mystery, Adrienne Schmall and Cody Ross set up a new project southwest of Miami, MB in the South Tobacco Creek Watershed. Adrienne will notably study water infiltration through soil and shale units just above the Pembina escarpment, and she will use both geological mapping and stable water isotopes to help her do that. Adrienne’s very first step was to do a little bit of plumbing to capture water seeping out of soil horizons and shale units, and that first step was completed in the past few days. See pictures below!

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Soil horizons and shale units exposed in the South Tobacco Creek Watershed

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Close-up view of PVC pipes and flexible tubing routing water from soil horizons (or shale units) to collection bottles

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