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Authors: D'Alessandro, W.* 
Federico, C.* 
Longo, M.* 
Parello, F.* 
Title: Oxygen isotope composition of natural waters in the Mt Etna area
Issue Date: 2004
Series/Report no.: 296 (2004)
DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2004.04.002
Keywords: Isotope hydrology
Mt Etna
Subject Classification03. Hydrosphere::03.02. Hydrology::03.02.02. Hydrological processes: interaction, transport, dynamics 
05. General::05.02. Data dissemination::05.02.04. Hydrogeological data 
Abstract: Oxygen isotopes of both rainwater and groundwater samples from Mt Etna were used to obtain information on recharge areas, flow paths, and the origin of wet air masses. Oxygen isotope composition was determined in rainwater samples collected for a period of 3 years (October 1997–October 2000), in 11 rain-gauges distributed along the flanks of Mt Etna from sea level to 2900 m of altitude. Values ranged from 213.8 to þ 1.9‰, the lowest values being measured at higher altitudes and/or during cooler periods. For rain-gauges located from sea level up to 1000 m altitude, volume weighted values defined an isotopic gradient of 22.7‰/km, which is in the range observed in the Mediterranean area. Higher-altitude gauges yielded a much lower gradient (20.6‰/km), probably due to the fact that vapour condensing at higher altitudes was mixed with an 18O-rich volcanic component deriving from the huge vapour output of the summit craters. The oxygen isotope composition of about 210 groundwater samples collected all around the volcano ranged from 29.3 to 25.0‰. The higher values measured on the eastern flank indicated that recharge occurs at lower altitudes on this flank. The low variability (0.30–0.65‰) of the monthly values gathered from 14 groundwater sampling points over a period of 2 years indicates that the groundwater system is isotopically well mixed. Some long-term trends may be explained by variations in annual recharge, due to the prevalent isotope composition of wet air masses.
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