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Authors: Grassa, F. 
Title: Geochemical processes governing the chemistry of groundwater hosted within the Hyblean aquifers
Issue Date: Jan-2002
Keywords: Hydrogeochemistry
Gas geochemistry
Groundwater circulation
Soil degassing
Subject Classification01. Atmosphere::01.01. Atmosphere::01.01.02. Climate 
01. Atmosphere::01.02. Ionosphere::01.02.01. Ion chemistry and composition 
03. Hydrosphere::03.01. General::03.01.99. General or miscellaneous 
03. Hydrosphere::03.02. Hydrology::03.02.03. Groundwater processes 
03. Hydrosphere::03.02. Hydrology::03.02.04. Measurements and monitoring 
03. Hydrosphere::03.02. Hydrology::03.02.06. Water resources 
03. Hydrosphere::03.03. Physical::03.03.01. Air/water/earth interactions 
03. Hydrosphere::03.03. Physical::03.03.02. General circulation 
03. Hydrosphere::03.04. Chemical and biological::03.04.03. Chemistry of waters 
03. Hydrosphere::03.04. Chemical and biological::03.04.05. Gases 
04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.12. Fluid Geochemistry 
05. General::05.02. Data dissemination::05.02.01. Geochemical data 
05. General::05.02. Data dissemination::05.02.04. Hydrogeological data 
Abstract: A raingauge network made of six stations was installed in the Hyblean region. Stations were located at different altitudes (from 5 m to 986 m a.s.l.) and along two directions (E-W and SW-NE). Rainwater samples were monthly collected for stable isotope measurements. Spatial distribution of rainwater isotope composition has confirmed the wet air masses move from South-East/South-West toward North. Water balance has highlighted that the annual volume of infiltrating waters is in the range of 1-1.5 *105 m3 Km-2. 82 well waters and 12 spring waters located within the Hyblean Plateau (South-Estern Sicily), were also collected from 1999 to 2001 during several surveys for chemical (major,minor and trace elements) analyses. Water chemistry allowed to identify two main aquifers: the first aquifer hosted within sedimentary rocks is characterized by earthalkaline bicarbonate waters, while the second aquifer, located within the volcanic deposits (mainly towards North- North-East) is characterized by groundwaters evolving from earthalkaline bicarbonate water-type towards a Na-HCO3-type. A slightly anomaly in water temperature (24-28°C) have been identified along the northern margin, while the lower Eh values have been recorded along the M.Lauro-Scicli and the Hyblean Malta Escarpment fault systems. Isotope composition of groundwaters has suggested the occurrence of evaporative processes during soil infiltration having a dD/d18O slope close to 4.5. Chemical and isotope composition of dissolved gases (d13CTDIC, d13CCH4, 3He/4He) have revealed, as expected, that deeply-derived gases rise along the main tectonic discontinuities. Chemical and isotope analyses of dissolved carbon have revealed the existence of two sampling sites (NA and FE samples) attesting the interaction between groundwaters and a consistent amount of deep inorganic carbon dioxide. He isotope ratios (from 0.81Ra to 6.19 Ra) have revealed the occurrence of mixing process, in different proportions, between crustal and mantle components. On the base of the obtained results, a clear picture of the groundwaters circulation within the Hyblean aquifers has been drawn. In framework of projecting of a geochemical network for the continuous monitoring of the local seismic activity the most suitable geochemical parameters and the sites of great interest have been identified.
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