ALVAREZ Maria Del Pilar
The role of evapotranspiration in the groundwater hydrochemistry of an arid coastal wetland (Península Valdés, Argentina). Science of the Total Environment
ALVAREZ MARÍA DEL PILAR; CAROL, ELEONORA; CRISTINA DAPEÑA
SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT
ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Lugar: Amsterdam; Año: 2014
Coastal wetlands are complex hydrogeological systems, in which saline groundwater usually occurs. Salinity can be attributed to many origins, such as dissolution of minerals in the sediments, marine contribution and evapotranspiration, among others. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the processes that condition the hydrochemistry of an arid marsh, Playa Fracasso, located in Patagonia, Argentina. A study of the dynamics and geochemistry of the groundwater was carried out in each hydrogeomorphological unit, using major ion and isotope (18O and 2H) data, soil profiles descriptions and measurements, and recording of water tables in relation to the tidal flow. Water balances and analytical models based on isotope data were used to quantify the evaporation processes and to define the role of evaporation in the chemical composition of water. The results obtained show that the groundwater salinity of the marsh comes mainly from the tidal inflow, to which the halite and gypsum dissolution is added. These mineral facies are the result of the total evaporation of the marine water flooding that occurs mostly at the spring high tides. The isotope relationships in the fan and bajada samples show the occurrence of evaporation processes. Such processes, however, are not mainly responsible for the saline content of groundwater, which is actually generated by the dissolution of the typical evaporite facies of the arid environment sediments. It is concluded that the evapotranspiration processes condition groundwater quality. This is not only due to the saline enrichment caused by the evapotranspiration of shallow water, but also because such processes are the main drivers of the formation of soluble salts, which are then incorporated into the water by groundwater or tidal flow.