ALVAREZ Maria Del Pilar
Factors controlling groundwater salinization processes in coastal aquifers in semiarid environments of north Patagonia, Argentina
CAROL, ELEONORA S.; ALVAREZ MARÍA DEL PILAR; TANJAL, CAROLINA; BOUZA, PABLO JOSÉ
JOURNAL OF SOUTH AMERICAN EARTH SCIENCES
PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD
Lugar: Amsterdam; Año: 2021
The South Atlantic coast in Argentine Patagonia is an area where semi-arid to arid conditions predominate and coastal populations present serious water supply problems. The aim of the work was to evaluate the fac- tors that condition the salinization processes of coastal aquifers from a hydrochemical and isotopic analysis of the groundwater located in Pleistocene and Holocene littoral ridges in the northern sector of Patagonia in Bahía San Blas. A geomorphological characterization of the area was carried out using digital elevation mod- els, satellite image interpretation and field surveys. Groundwater chemistry was analyzed in 40 shallow wells and 2 tidal water samples. At each point, electrical conductivity, temperature and pH of water were measured and samples were taken for analysis of major ions and stable isotopes. The salinization processes were analyzed by means of ionic and isotopic relationship graphs and were subsequently modeled using free software. The results obtained allowed the identification of the factors that determine the salinization of coastal aquifers. Particularly in the Pleistocene coastal ridges, the cementation of the most superficial sedi- ments reduces permeability conditioning rainwater infiltration. This, together with the presence of soluble salts on the surface and the mixing with sea water, determines the salinization of the groundwater. In con- trast to these, in the Holocene coastal ridges without cementation, rainwater infiltrates forming freshwater lenses where salinization processes occur only at the edges of the lenses where the saltwater wedge is lo- cated. The data provided in this paper are useful in prospecting freshwater sources along the arid coast of Patagonia where freshwater availability is scarce. They can also be extrapolated to other sectors worldwide with similar geological and climatic environments.