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Authors: Morici, Sabina* 
Gagliano Candela, Esterina* 
Favara, Rocco* 
La Pica, Leonardo* 
Scaletta, Claudio* 
Pecoraino, Giovannella* 
Title: Hydrogeochemical characterization of the alluvial aquifer of Catania Plain, Sicily (South Italy)
Journal: Environmental Earth Sciences 
Series/Report no.: /82 (2023)
Publisher: Springer
Issue Date: 2023
DOI: 10.1007/s12665-023-10816-3
Keywords: Hydrochemistry
Stable isotopes
Catania plain
Abstract: A hydrogeochemical study was carried out on the shallow Catania Plain alluvial aquifer, in eastern Sicily to reconstruct its hydrogeological structure, the meteoric recharge and to assess the infuence of human activities on groundwater. To characterize the geochemistry of the shallow aquifer, two sampling campaigns were carried out, August–October 2004 and April–May 2005 in 47 sites distributed throughout the plain. The samples were collected and analyzed for physical–chemical parameters and major ions, as well as stable isotopes (δ18O and δ2 H). Alluvial deposits with heterogeneous grain sizes constitute the aquifer. Varying conditions of vertical and horizontal permeability lead to the presence of a multilayered aquifer with diferent conditions of confnement and partial interconnection among layers. The sampled waters were separated into four groups of diferent compositions due to the water–rock interaction with the diferent lithologies present in and around the study area. Maps of electrical conductivity and sulfate show a systematic control of land use, in correspondence with the biggest farms. High sulfate concentration is due to both the natural interaction between local meteoric waters and Etna’s plume and the mixing with groundwater coming from the area where evaporitic rocks of the Gessoso Solffera formation are present. In addition, anthropogenic contamination cannot be ruled out. A rain gauge network, consisting of 3 sites located at diferent altitudes, was installed to collect rain waters to determine isotopic data (δ2 H and δ18O) and to measure the monthly rainfall amount. Based on the isotopic composition of sampled waters, it has been established that beyond the direct meteoric recharge, the recharging areas are in the North (Mt. Etna) and the South (Hyblean Plateau).
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