Abstract

Geochemical processes occurring within the mixing zone on Mallorca, Spain, were investigated in relation to the diagenesis of carbonate minerals and to the development of porosity and permeability within the Pleistocene limestone aquifer. Rock core and ground-water samples were obtained from the fresh-water zone, the mixing zone and the top of the sea-water zone at two sites near the coast. Ground-water withdrawals in the vicinity of one study site depressed the water table to below sea level, resulting in sea-water encroachment and a thin mixing zone. Laboratory tests conducted on the rock core indicated that porosity and hydraulic conductivity were not enhanced within the transitory location of the present-day mixing zone. Vuggy zones in the core correspond to the approximate location of the water table. Because the ground water was supersaturated with respect to the carbonate minerals, dissolution of the limestone aquifer is no predicted for the present-day mixing zone. Results of mass-balance and source-rock calculations indicated an excess of calcium and strontium in the mixing-zone waters in relation to what was expected from conservative mixing. These elevated concentrations are hypothesized to result from limestone dissolution in the vadose zone.

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