Berlin Environmental Atlas

02.12 Groundwater Levels of the Main Aquifer and Panke Valley Aquifer (Edition 2008)

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Morphology, 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 its Panke Valley branch, consisting predominantly of sandy and gravel deposits; the neighboring Barnim Plateau to the north; and the Teltow Plateau with the Nauen Plate to the south, which are covered in large part by the thick glacial till and boulder clay of the ground moraines (Fig. 5 and 6).

Figure 5
Fig. 5: Morphological Outline Map of Berlin

Figure 6
Fig. 6: Geological Outline Map of Berlin

The loose sediments dating from the quaternary and tertiary, and averaging approx. 150 m in thickness, are of special significance for the water supply and for foundation of buildings. They form the freshwater stock from which Berlin draws all the drinking water and a large part of the process water. Numerous waterworks an other pumping facilities have lowered the groundwater in Berlin partly since more than 100 years.
The tertiary rupelium layer in a depth of 150 to 200 m is about 80 m thick, and constitutes a hydraulic barrier against the deeper saltwater tier (Fig. 7).

Figure 7 - click to enlarge (30 KB)
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Fig. 7: Schematical Hydrogeological Cross-Section of Berlin from South to North

Due to the alternation of aquifers (green, blue, brownn and yellow in Fig. 7) and aquitards (grey in Fig. 7), 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 and process water. The fifth aquifer is in the saltwater tier under the rupelium.

The groundwater conditions of the main aquifer (Aquifer 2) are shown in the groundwater contour map in violet; in the Panke Valley aquifer (Aquifer 1) in the northwestern area of the Barnim Plateau, they are shown in blue. Here, the Panke Valley aquifer is situated above the main groundwater aquifer, separated from it by the glacial till of the ground moraine (Fig. 7 and 8).

Figure 8
Fig. 8: The unconfined Panke Valley aquifer (Aquifer 1) in the northwestern area of the Barnim Plateau is situated above the main aquifer (Aquifer 2), which is confined in this area

In the northwestern area of the Barnim Plateau, the ground moraines are so thick that no main groundwater aquifer exists, or occurs only in isolated places, with a thickness of a few meters. For those areas of the Berlin city area, no groundwater contours can be shown.

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