Creating an environmental ‘time machine’

A new centrifuge is being used to preview the long-term effects of activities such as coal seam gas mining on groundwater aquifers.

The centrifuge can be used to study the movement of water and contaminants through clay layers (known as “aquitards”). This process can then be used to determine how much water or contaminant will move into, or out of an aquifer once disturbed by drilling or pumping bores.

The centrifuge acts like a time machine, speeding up gravity to 300-times normal strength, therefore speeding up the response of aquifers to events such as water extraction and dewatering.

Read more at UNSW