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Hydrochemical and isotopic characterization of carbonate aquifers under natural flow conditions, Sierra Grazalema Natural Park, southern Spain

By
Damián Sánchez
Damián Sánchez
Centre of Hydrogeology of the University of Malaga (CEHIUMA) 29071, Malaga, Spain
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Juan Antonio Barberá
Juan Antonio Barberá
Centre of Hydrogeology of the University of Malaga (CEHIUMA) 29071, Malaga, Spain
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Matías Mudarra
Matías Mudarra
Centre of Hydrogeology of the University of Malaga (CEHIUMA) 29071, Malaga, Spain
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Bartolomé Andreo
Bartolomé Andreo
Centre of Hydrogeology of the University of Malaga (CEHIUMA) 29071, Malaga, Spain
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José Francisco Martín
José Francisco Martín
Centre of Hydrogeology of the University of Malaga (CEHIUMA) 29071, Malaga, Spain
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Published:
January 01, 2018

Abstract

We used hydrogeochemical techniques and environmental isotopes (δ18O and δ2H) to characterize karst aquifers without a well-known hydrogeological conceptual model. The selected study area corresponds to carbonate outcrops located in the Sierra Grazalema Natural Park (SGNP) in southern Spain. The combination of high rainfall, large areas of carbonate outcrops and the high permeability of the outcropping rocks means that the SGNP is a strategic water reserve in a region that periodically suffers from a scarcity of water. There are still many uncertainties regarding the hydrogeological functioning of these aquifers, such as the groundwater flow paths, the identification of recharge areas and a possible hydrogeological connection with adjacent systems. The objectives of this work were: (1) to gain an insight into the hydrogeochemistry of groundwater in the SGNP aquifers; (2) to identify the recharge areas of the main springs of the karst system; and (3) to contribute to our understanding and conceptualization of the SGNP aquifers. Our results show marked differences in the chemical composition of the groundwater, which can be classified into three main groups: CaHCO3 waters (southern sector); Ca–MgHCO3 waters (northern sector); and those with higher SO4 2−, Na+ and/or Cl concentrations. These hydrochemical differences are principally dependent on the mineral composition of the rocks the groundwater flows through and comes into contact with. These results also shed light on the recharge areas associated with the main springs and seem to corroborate a possible net groundwater flow from the eastern part of the SGNP (Sierra del Endrinal) towards carbonate outcrops situated several kilometres to the SE.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Advances in Karst Research: Theory, Fieldwork and Applications

M. Parise
M. Parise
University Aldo Moro, Italy
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F. Gabrovsek
F. Gabrovsek
Karst Research Institute ZRC SAZU, Slovenia
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G. Kaufmann
G. Kaufmann
Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
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N. Ravbar
N. Ravbar
Karst Research Institute ZRC SAZU, Slovenia
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Geological Society of London
Volume
466
ISBN electronic:
9781786203786
Publication date:
January 01, 2018

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