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Authors: Zuffianò, L. 
Basso, A. 
Casarano, D. 
Dragone, V. 
Limoni, P.P. 
Santaloia, F. 
Polemio, M. 
Title: The coastal springs along the Taranto Gulf (South Italy)
Issue Date: Jun-2014
Publisher: Leibniz-Institut für Angewandte Geophysik, Hannover
Keywords: Coastal aquifer
Subject Classification03. Hydrosphere::03.02. Hydrology::03.02.03. Groundwater processes 
Abstract: The Mar Piccolo (literally “narrow sea”), a sea internal basin which is part of the Taranto Gulf, located along the Ionian coast in southern Italy (Apulia region), represents both a peculiar and sensitive environmental area and a national environmental and social emergency due to the level of sea water pollution due to the pollutants coming from the close industrial area of Taranto. The area, located between the southern part of the Murgia plateau and the Ionian sea, is geologically characterized by a sequence of Mesozoic limestone (the Apulian carbonate platform) constituting the foreland of the southern Apennines chain. The Mesozoic sequence is intensely fissured and karstified, and forms an important groundwater reservoir. The aquifer occurring in the carbonate sequence of the Murgia plateau feeds numerous coastal springs and constitute the main local source of pure fresh groundwater. Galeso, Battentieri and Riso are the main subaerial springs located along the coast of Mar Piccolo, not far from the town of Taranto. This area is also characterized by several submarine springs, locally called “Citri”. Submarine freshwater discharge plays an important, though not well quantified, role in the hydrogeological equilibrium of the system, but also the source of the spreading of many pollutants in the Mar Piccolo area due to the close presence of one of the largest European steel mill together a number of hazardous industrial activities of other types. The paper describes the efforts and the preliminary results to define a detailed conceptualisation of the aquifer as main support to characterise the hydrological balance of the internal sea and the quality of sea water and the effect on of the ecological equilibrium of the coastal environment.
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