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01-09-2016 | Original Article | Issue 18/2016

Environmental Earth Sciences 18/2016

Chemical and isotopic characteristics of groundwater-dominated Radovna River (NW Slovenia)

Journal:
Environmental Earth Sciences > Issue 18/2016
Authors:
Anja Torkar, Mihael Brenčič, Polona Vreča

Abstract

In order to investigate stream water, spring waters and water from a borehole facies, weathering processes, residence times and average recharge altitudes in the Radovna River valley were analysed for their concentrations of dissolved Ca2+, Mg2+, K+, Na+, HCO3 , Cl, NO3 , SO4 2− and for the isotope compositions of hydrogen, oxygen and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). All water samples show a Ca2+–HCO3 water facies with low contents of K+, Na+, Cl, NO3 and SO4 2−. Water–rock interaction and carbonate weathering are the significant contributors to water geochemistry. Analysis of the water chemistry indicates that waters drain a monolithological terrain and non-anthropogenically influenced watershed. The δ 2H and δ 18O values are seasonally dependent on the snowmelt, precipitation and evaporation. The average recharge altitudes for all sampling locations are between 1120 and 2130 m. The average residence time for the stream water is 2.4 years and for karst springs 1.2 years. The δ 13CDIC values in all samples are influenced by dissolution of carbonates, degradation of organic matter and by equilibrium with atmospheric CO2. All geochemical and isotope analyses show changes in stream water in the downstream direction and are highly dependent on the inflow of karstic spring. Based on hydrogeological mapping, geochemical and stable isotope results, a conceptual hydrogeological model of the Radovna system, in which karstic and alluvial aquifers are in contact, was determined.

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