Salt Question

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David Leikvold
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subsurface brines

Post by David Leikvold »

Thanks very much for your input Dr Gwynn. I'd like to say I understood it better but I'm still wondering, especially as I haven't been to the salt to see it for myself yet. So here's a bit more quasi-scientific and entirely speculative postulation.
Presumably the entire lake surface is essentially dead flat and the subsurface brines are at a consistent depth below the surface so the only variation could be the shape or depth of the bottom of the lake. There would be more subsurface brines lurking in the deeper parts of the lake (and that's not necessarily the middle) and they might have more influence on the salt above than in shallower parts of the lake floor. And there might also be an underground water source that we don't know about. Is there any bore water at Mt Ive or in the area?
Any thoughts anyone? Apart from I think I'll have another beer, that is!
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Reverend Hedgash
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Post by Reverend Hedgash »

Sounds like we should all have a good brine-storm about this...
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David Leikvold
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underground tidal flows?

Post by David Leikvold »

Speaking of underground water, the Great Artesian Basin (GAB) lies under most of eastern Australia, mostly Qld and NSW and, most significantly, under 38% of the area of South Australia starting at the northern borders and stretching at least as far south as the bottom of Lake Eyre. It gets quite close to the surface in some parts. And as Lake Gairdner is obviously the lowest point in the area it might be very close to any underground water, whether it be the GAB or some lesser source of water. I don't know if the GAB gets any closer to Lake Gairdner but if it did it might go a long way to explaining why the moisture content of the salt can vary so much and so quickly, even on dry days.
It might even explain the phases of the moon theory, which we can't discount because the records certainly seem to support a connection.
Tidal flows are obvious in oceans but there's no reason why they don't happen in lakes, it's just that in most lakes there isn't enough water and area to make it measurable. I'll bet there are tidal flows in the Great Lakes in the USA and they are much, much smaller than the GAB which has an area that roughly covers three states. That huge volume of water must surely have tidal flows, especially as a lot of water has been taken from the GAB since the first bores were sunk. Various websites also mentioned a big temperature variation, anywhere between 30 degrees and boiling. That alone would generate significant local convection currents.
So for those who have been to the lake, a couple of questions:
1) Are there any bores, capped or flowing, in the area?
2) Has anyone noticed if the rising surface water is much warmer than ambient?
By now some readers will be wondering why I'm obsessing about this. Simple, if we understand what is really happening to the salt we are better able to plan when and where to race.
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Post by Dr Goggles »

DLRA wrote:When I first started doing the website, Wayne O'Grady (ex-pres) asked me this very question. And I did some research and thought it to be significant enough to set the dates forspeed week by the cycles of the moon. That's why the moon appears on the speed week page for each up coming event.
I'm not saying that I'm a genius at this but we did it from 1998 (new) till about 2003-4 (last qtr, full), and had good salt each year.
It's also interesting to look at the years that were washed out - 1992 (not sure of date, but it would have been first quarter or full moon), 1997 (not sure of date, but it would have been first quarter or full moon), 2006 (full moon). Also very wet in 1994 (first quarter or full moon) and 2005 (new moon).

For what it's worth 2007 will be a full moon...

You mean 2008 don't you ??

Very interesting !!!!

If we drove a tube with a series of stainless steel conductors in it down into the surface it it could tell us the depth of the water, a more expensive version could include a remote transmitter .coupling the ambient water table level with the moon cycle information which could give us a good idea of the effect that "tides"( if they are actually significant) have.....and make it much easier to decide whether scheduling the event at full moon is wise or not. It may be possible to get permission to set up a little data station that monitors the water level year round ( whether it's above or how far below the surface)

That , or ground penetrating radar......

What we need is someone doing a Masters degree in geology who is looking for a Phd project to get funding to explain the whole thing to us...and do the research....sounds like a wank but it'd save a whole lot of people a whole lot of loss and trouble in the end.
...few understand what I'm trying to do , but they vastly outnumber those who understand why..

David Leikvold
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PhD anyone?

Post by David Leikvold »

Doc, your PhD idea is great and definitely worth pursuing. How do we find someone who might be interested in such a project? I suppose we could ask around whatever universities there are in S.A. (so they'd be better able to do field trips to the lake) or approach the NPWS for their help perhaps.
A couple of websites I found in S.A. had contact details for some hydrogeologists. I'll try to find them again and ring them. The worst they can do is be no help at all. And they might already have the answers we seek.
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Post by DirtyDave »

The Lake Has to get resaturated in small doses so as not to wash large quantaties of lake bank into the lake surface, If the lake gets enough water on it to get under the saturation point then the Mud should seatle to the bottom, This must have been happening for millions of years, But the million dollar question is does it happen every year or only when over overage rain falls onto the lake, And from what we saw this year is if we get similer rain then the salt my only go out of saturation for only an inch or so so the sediment my only drop an other inch,

Can we find out if there is water on the Lake now as we have been getting rain up this way,,,,,,
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Post by flyingwombat »

an article on abc

Mt Ive Station, in the heart of The Gawler Ranges, has Lake Gairdner as its Northern boundary and it's the only property within the Gawler Ranges with visitor facilities.

We asked our host and owner of Mt Ive Station, Len Newton, just how and why he got involved in these trials. Particularly the remote sensing device that checks water levels.

"About a year ago we started talking about looking at different water technologies and then we applied [to trial a project] and we were successful - so away we went and so far it's been great. Ultimately it's really brought everything quickly forward for us and it's shown us things that we would have been a little more cautious about."

"It's a lot better than I thought it would be, it saves us heaps of time. The [communication] screen is here on the dashboard of my ute. It's got four buttons so it's very simple use. We've got seven water sites that you can scroll through using this screen. There's another screen in the shed that anyone can use."

it would be interesting to get access to this data

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who's going to ask Len?

Post by David Leikvold »

It would be very interesting to find out what that article is all about. Len might already have the answers to our questions. At our meeting yesterday I was told there is bore water on the property so maybe Len's water level monitors help him open and close bores to water his cattle. I'm just guessing, I know absolutely nothing about cattle.
I think someone who knows Len well should give him a call to find out more about what he's doing. Any volunteers?
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Post by Stayt`ie »

i was talking with len and one off his offsiders prior too the 06event about bores, windmills, etc, i recon said abc article is about the sub surface water suppy , as it is the stations "life blood" :wink:
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Post by PJQ2 »

Further input from our colleagues in the States...

Special thanks to Dr. Wally Gwynn for allowing Brent Singleton of into his home to further analyze how fragile salt flats are. Dr. Gwynn had 2 major back operations in the past few weeks and doing much better.

July 02, 2007

Just a few more comments on the water on Lake Gairdner that caused the
cancellation of the races slated for March 5, 2007.

In my previous write-up (4th paragraph from the end) I suggested that
the warming of the salt/brine mixture increases the volume of the near
surface salt/brine which would bring it to the surface.

After having done some experiments with high-salt content brine from
Great Salt Lake, I am convinced that this may have been the reason for
the flooding of the lake’s surface.

As water is warmed, it expands, like the mercury in a thermometer.
Thus, one cubic centimeter of brine at a given temperature will expand
a given amount for each degree C rise in temperature. Salt water also
expands as it is warmed, though the amount it expands for each degree C
in temperature is less than that of fresh water.

The three days prior to the race were (1-3) were the three hottest days
of the month (air temperature averaged about 35.9 degrees C at the
Woomera weather station), and as such, would have warmed the subsurface
salt/brine. The depth to which the warming extended is not known. The
low temperatures for these same days averaged about 22 degrees C.
Depending on the depth of the brine below the surface before these very
warm days, the interstitial brine would have been brought to, or nearer
to the surface of the lake. This is verified by the observations given
during the day in the article posted June 26, 2007.

Although the average maximum temperature during the five racing days
averaged 30.78 degrees (again at the Woomera weather station) and the
low averaged 16.34 degrees C, the brine may have been close enough to
the surface, and still hot enough to be near the surface, thus making
the racing course unusable.

Not only does change in temperature cause the brine to rise and/or
fall, depending on whether the temperature is rising or falling, the depth of
the brine to the bottom of the salt at a given location which is warmed
and/or cooled will also have a great influence on how much it rises or
falls. The thicker the brine column that is warmed, the more the brine
will rise towards the surface. The more concentrated the brine, the
less it will expand for a given temperature rise. I believe, however,
that with the very hot days before the race and the hot days of the
race, the subsurface or interstitial brine may have been warmed
sufficiently, both in temperature and to sufficient depth, to increase
its volume enough to bring it to the surface.

Maximum and minimum temperatures for the Woomera, SA site were taken from the Australian Governments Bureau uf Meteorology web site, given as follows:
http://www/bom/gov/au/climate/dwo/20060 ... 0607.shtml.

Wally Gwynn Ph.D., PG

J. Wallace Gwynn Ph.D.
Utah Geological Survey
1594 W. North Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6100

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Greg Watters
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Post by Greg Watters »

Probably the same thing in a different manner, a saturated solution is temperature dependant to the amount of salts in solution.

I have problems mixing Urea in water for corn, as the solution changes state it cools lowering the amount i can dissolve in a given quantity of water.

I'm not suprised warming would bring the water out of the salt

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scientia est potentia

Post by David Leikvold »

Thanks very much Wally, your wealth of knowledge is a great help to us. I'm sure all our members and the readers of this forum wish you a quick and complete recovery.
So there it is, the water from below comes and goes with the ambient temperature. How much it affects the surface depends on the volume below. Given that the bottom of the lake and the depth of the salt probably don't change much the water should appear in the same places every time, or at least more often than not. Maybe from 2008 on, we could keep some sort of useful records that might eventually give us the experience and knowledge to position the course in the optimum spot each year. In the meantime we can just hope it is cool and dry in March!
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Post by Reverend Hedgash »

Greg Watters wrote:
I have problems mixing Urea in water for corn, as the solution changes state it cools lowering the amount i can dissolve in a given quantity of water.

Gees Greg, that's taking the water restrictions a bit far isn't it? You wouldn't catch me cooking my dinner in my own urine...
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Post by Norm »

This is all good info which brings me to this question?

So what is the best possible conditions from us not to have water on the lake.

Yes we need evaporation but not to hot as the water comes to the surface :?:

Anyone got any view on this question?


David Leikvold
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my guess

Post by David Leikvold »

My guess, and it is just an educated guess based solely on everything this thread has taught us, is this: Heat is a problem, rain is a problem, floods are a disaster. So the ideal environmental conditions would be no repeats of this year's flood until April, a relatively dry and cool couple of months leading up to and including Speedweek. And run it two weeks away from the full moon. Oh, and someone sneaking past the NP&WS with some earthmoving equipment to push a few thousand tons of hard packed salt to our end of the lake and also dig a bloody big hole at the far end of the lake!
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