This study aims at recognizing the mechanisms of mass transport between the karst surface and the saturated zone in a morphostructural relief of the Mesozoic karst carbonate platform of Murgia (Puglia, Southern Italy). The large dimension of the karst aquifer, the regional scale of the flow system, the boundary condition constituted by the sea, and the lack of freshwater springs constrain to the use of wells as monitoring points and limit the study area to the recharge area comprising 986 endorheic basins. The concentrations of non-reactive tracers (nitrates) in the waters of autogenic recharge (from endorheic basins) have been modeled through the evaluation of effective infiltration, land use, and nitrogen surplus, with reference to a time window, which includes a low precipitation period followed by significant rainfall events. The comparison between the modeled nitrate concentrations and the nitrate concentrations measured in ground waters, coupled with the analysis of groundwater chemograms and records of hydraulic heads (all referred to the same time window), allows inferring the mechanism of mass transport between the karst surface and the groundwater table. The mass transport conceptual model requires the presence of the epikarst. The infiltration of significant rainfall in the endorheic basins after a low precipitation period displaces waters stored in the epikarst toward the saturated zone. Ground waters in the post-event period show higher concentrations of nitrates, lower concentrations of total organic carbon, and higher Mg/Ca ratios than both those of the pre-event period and the autumn-winter recharge period. The post-event recharge from epikarst storage determines a transient hazard of groundwater pollution with a time lag from the occurrence of the heavy rainfall.
|Titolo:||Mass transport triggered by heavy rainfall: the role of endorheic basins and epikarst in a regional karst aquifer|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2017|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hyp.11037|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|