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Authors: Aiuppa, A.* 
Bellomo, S.* 
Brusca, L.* 
D'Alessandro, W.* 
Federico, C.* 
Title: Natural and anthropogenic factors affecting groundwater quality of an active volcano (Mt. Etna, Italy)
Issue Date: 2003
Series/Report no.: 18(2003)
Keywords: Hydrogeochemistry
water quality
Mt. Etna
Subject Classification03. 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::03.04. Chemical and biological::03.04.03. Chemistry of waters 
Abstract: New geochemical data on dissolved major and minor constituents in 276 groundwater samples from Etna aquifers reveal the main processes responsible for their geochemical evolution and mineralisation. This topic is of particular interest in the light of the progressive depletion of water resources and groundwater quality in the area. Multivariate statistical analysis reveal 3 sources of solutes: (a) the leaching of the host basalt, driven by the dissolution of magmaderived CO2; (b) mixing processes with saline brines rising from the sedimentary basement below Etna; (c) contamination from agricultural and urban wastewaters. The last process, highlighted by increased concentrations of SO4,NO3, Ca, F and PO4, is more pronounced on the lower slopes of the volcanic edifice, associated with areas of high population and intensive agriculture. However, this study demonstrates that natural processes (a) and (b) are also very effective in producing highly mineralised waters, which in turn results in many constituents (B, V, Mg) exceeding maximum admissible concentrations for drinking water.
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