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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Assessing the suitability of the MAGIC model for analysis of acidification potential in the oil sands region of northeastern Alberta Kampala, Benjamin M.


This thesis is an evaluation of the suitability of the Model of Acidification of Groundwater in Catchments (MAGIC) for estimating acidification potential in lakes in the oil sands producing region of Northeastern Alberta. Parameterization of the model is undertaken for two study lakes representing cases with differing acidification potential. Applications of MAGIC for these cases demonstrate that the model is robust for explaining the behavior of these different natural systems. Additional applications of the model demonstrate how it may be used to predict the impact of various projections of oil sands emissions on the future status of lakes affected by acidifying emissions. Under all cases, it is shown that oil sands production may occur without resulting in harmful effects on these two study lakes. Improvements in the parameterization of the model are also identified, and these include gathering more soil data and information regarding nitrogen immobilization. Extensions of this work that would lead to a greater understanding of acidification in the Oil Sands Region include: regionalizing MAGIC for Northeastern Alberta, including climate change considerations, and incorporating this or other predictive models as part of a greater management system to assess the potential acidification of lakes.

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