In southern Tunisia, the lack of permanent surface water, associated with drought conditions, leads to an endless abstraction from the limited low renewable multi-layered aquifer system of Système Aquifère du Sahara Septentrional containing two principal aquifers, the complex terminal and the Continental Intercalaire (CI) multi-layered systems. The deepest aquifer embodies the low-enthalpy thermal resources of Southern Tunisia. The thermo-mineral surface manifestations of the conductively heated waters reveal the complexity of the geotectonic history of the region and create oases systems in net contrast to the desertic landscape of the Chotts region. As agriculture constitutes the principal economic activity in the studied area and as it is currently threatened by thermal water quality degradation, the present hydrogeological investigation aims for a characterization of the CI thermal resources on the basis of a critical quality evaluation. Thus, different geothermometry approaches have been applied to characterize the low-enthalpy thermal field showing a temperature ranging from 27 to 72 °C. The application of cations geothermometers owns to different temperature estimations ranging from 28 to 202 °C. Based on Na+–Mg2+–K+, K+–Mg2+–Ca2+ and HCO3 −–Cl−–SO4 2− geoindicators, the CI thermal resources refer to immature waters characterized by MI varying from − 0.5 to 0.19. The assessment of groundwater chemical composition based on a Durov diagram proves that CI thermal water is governed by mixing between different water bodies with relative abundance of Na+, Cl−, and SO4 2− elements. According to D’Amore genetic diagram and meteoric genesis indices, the analyzed groundwater derived from deep circulation in sandy formations. The water quality can change along fluid migration pathways expressed by scattered isotopic and chemical data and a number of mixing ratios. Most changes in the background CI composition result from continuous pumping that modifies natural flows and increase quality degradation.
Euro-Mediterranean Journal for Environmental Integration – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 21, 2018
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