Hydrogeological Conceptual Model of Groundwater from Carbonate Aquifers Using Environmental Isotopes (18O, 2H) and Chemical Tracers: A Case Study in Southern Latium Region, Central Italy


The present work provides hydrochemical and stable isotope data and their interpretations for 54 springs and 20 wells, monitored from 2002 to 2006, in the Southern Latium region of Central Italy to identify flow paths, recharge areas and hydrochemical processes governing the evolution of groundwater in this region. The hydrogeological conceptual model of the carbonate aquifers of southern Latium was based on environmental isotopic and hydrochemical investigation techniques to characterize and model these aquifer systems with the aim of achieving proper management and protection of these important resources. Most of the spring samples, issuing from Lepini, Ausoni and Aurunci Mts., are characterized as Ca-Mg-HCO3 water type, however, some samples show a composition of Na-Cl and mixed Ca-Na-HCO3-Cl waters. Groundwater samples from Pontina Plain are mostly characterized by Na-Cl and Ca-Cl type waters. Geochemical modeling and saturation index computation of the Lepini, Ausoni Aurunci springs and Pontina Plain wells shows an interaction with carbonate rocks. Most of the spring and well water samples were saturated with respect to calcite and dolomite, however all sampled waters were undersaturated with respect to gypsum and halite. The relationship between δ18O and δ2H, for spring and well water samples, shows shifts of both the slope and the deuterium excess when compared to the world meteoric (WMWL) and central Italy meteoric (CIMWL) water lines. The deviation of data points from the meteoric lines can be attributed to evaporation both during the falling of the rain and by run-off on the ground surface before infiltration. Most springs and wells have a deuterium excess above 10 ‰ suggesting the precipitation in the groundwater comes from the Mediterranean sector. On the basis of local isotopic gradients, in combination with topographic and geologic criteria, four recharge areas were identified in the Aurunci Mountains. In Pontina Plain, the elevations of the recharging areas suggest that the Lepini carbonate aquifers are feeding them.

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G. Sappa, M. Barbieri, S. Ergul and F. Ferranti, "Hydrogeological Conceptual Model of Groundwater from Carbonate Aquifers Using Environmental Isotopes (18O, 2H) and Chemical Tracers: A Case Study in Southern Latium Region, Central Italy," Journal of Water Resource and Protection, Vol. 4 No. 9, 2012, pp. 695-716. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2012.49080.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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