Hydrology of Banff Hot Springs

The hot springs in Banff is home to the endangered snail, Physella johnsoni. During a severe drought of 2001-2002, the flow of some springs stopped, resulting in the disappearance of the snail from these springs.

Working with the Parks Canada's Snail Recovery Team, we started a hydrological study of the hot springs in 2003 to understand its flow dynamics. We are using geophysical imaging tools to uncover the subsurface structure and delineate groundwater flow paths, and geochemical tools to identify multiple sources of spring water and its residence time. Combining these tools with long-term monitoring of water temperature, flow amounts, and meteorological variables, we are building conceptual and mathematical models of the groundwater systems that drive the dynamics of Banff hot springs.

Banff hot spring

Water sampling from a hot spring