Limestone massifs with a high density of dolines form important karst aquifers in most of the Alps, often with groundwater circulating through deep karst conduits and water coming out of closely spaced springs with flow rates of over some cubic meters per second. Although several hydrogeological studies and tracing experiments were carried out in many of these carbonate mountains in the past, the hydrogeology of most of these karst aquifers is still poorly known. Geological, hydrodynamic and hydrochemical investigations have been carried out in one of the most representative of these areas (Cansiglio-Monte Cavallo, NE Italy) since spring 2015, in order to enhance the knowledge on this important type of aquifer system. Additionally, a cave-to-spring multitracer test was carried out in late spring 2016 by using three different fluorescent tracers. This hydrogeological study allowed: 1) gathering new detailed information on the geological and tectonic structure of such alpine karst plateau; 2) defining discharge rates of the three main springs (Gorgazzo, Santissima, and Molinetto) by constructing rating curves; 3) understanding the discharging behavior of the system with respect to different recharge conditions; 4) better defining the recharge areas of the three springs. The three nearby springs (the spring front stretches over 5 km), that drain the investigated karst aquifer system, show different behaviors with respect to changing discharge conditions, demonstrating this aquifer to be divided in partially independent drainage systems under low-flow conditions, when their chemistry is clearly differentiated. Under high-flow conditions, waters discharging at all springs show more similar geochemical characteristics. The combination of geochemistry, hydrodynamic monitoring and dye tracing tests has shown that the three springs have different recharge areas. The study points out that even closely spaced karst springs, that apparently drain the same karst mountain, can have different behaviors, and thus distinctive reactions toward polluting events, a characteristic to be taken into account for their management.

Differentiated spring behavior under changing hydrological conditions in an alpine karst aquifer

Filippini, Maria;Squarzoni, Gabriela;De Waele, Jo;Gargini, Alessandro
2018

Abstract

Limestone massifs with a high density of dolines form important karst aquifers in most of the Alps, often with groundwater circulating through deep karst conduits and water coming out of closely spaced springs with flow rates of over some cubic meters per second. Although several hydrogeological studies and tracing experiments were carried out in many of these carbonate mountains in the past, the hydrogeology of most of these karst aquifers is still poorly known. Geological, hydrodynamic and hydrochemical investigations have been carried out in one of the most representative of these areas (Cansiglio-Monte Cavallo, NE Italy) since spring 2015, in order to enhance the knowledge on this important type of aquifer system. Additionally, a cave-to-spring multitracer test was carried out in late spring 2016 by using three different fluorescent tracers. This hydrogeological study allowed: 1) gathering new detailed information on the geological and tectonic structure of such alpine karst plateau; 2) defining discharge rates of the three main springs (Gorgazzo, Santissima, and Molinetto) by constructing rating curves; 3) understanding the discharging behavior of the system with respect to different recharge conditions; 4) better defining the recharge areas of the three springs. The three nearby springs (the spring front stretches over 5 km), that drain the investigated karst aquifer system, show different behaviors with respect to changing discharge conditions, demonstrating this aquifer to be divided in partially independent drainage systems under low-flow conditions, when their chemistry is clearly differentiated. Under high-flow conditions, waters discharging at all springs show more similar geochemical characteristics. The combination of geochemistry, hydrodynamic monitoring and dye tracing tests has shown that the three springs have different recharge areas. The study points out that even closely spaced karst springs, that apparently drain the same karst mountain, can have different behaviors, and thus distinctive reactions toward polluting events, a characteristic to be taken into account for their management.
JOURNAL OF HYDROLOGY
Filippini, Maria; Squarzoni, Gabriela; De Waele, Jo; Fiorucci, Adriano; Vigna, Bartolomeo; Grillo, Barbara; Riva, Alberto; Rossetti, Stefano; Zini, Luca; Casagrande, Giacomo; Stumpp, Christine; Gargini, Alessandro
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/612717
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