Berlin Environmental Atlas

02.12 Groundwater Levels (Edition 2002)

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Geology and Hydrogeology

The present shape of the earth’s surface in Berlin was predominantly the result of the Vistula Ice Age, the most recent of the three great quaternary inland glaciations. The most important morphological units are the Warsaw-Berlin Glacial Spillway, with predominantly sandy-gravel deposits reaching to great depths, and the Barnim Plateau in the north and the Teltow Plateau with the Nauen Plate in the south, which are covered in large part by the thick glacial till or boulder clay of the ground moraines Fig. 4).

Figure 4
Fig. 4: Geological Outline Map of Berlin

The loose sediments dating from the tertiary and quaternary, and averaging approx. 150 m in thickness, are of special significance for the water supply and for the foundation soil. They form the freshwater stock from which all the drinking water and a large part of the process water of the city is drawn.
The tertiary rupelton clay layer beneath it is about 80 m thick, and constitutes a hydraulic barrier against the deeper saltwater tier (Fig. 5).

Figure 5 - click to scale up (26 KB)
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Fig. 5: Hydrogeological Cross-Section of Berlin

Due to the alternation of aquifers and aquitards, the freshwater stock in the Berlin area is broken down into four separate hydraulic aquifers (Limberg, Thierbach 2002). The second aquifer, which is largely a Saale-glaciation-era aquifer, is known as the main aquifer, since it supplies the predominant share of the drinking water. The fifth aquifer is already in the saltwater tier.

The groundwater conditions in the main aquifer are shown in the isoline map.

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