Correlation between tides of northern Adriatic sea and hydrodynamics of the karstic aquifer in the Pozzo dei Protei di Monfalcone (Classical Karst)
The Pozzo dei Protei di Monfalcone (northeast Italy) is a cavity developed in Cretaceous limestones (Cenomanian-Turonian) situated near the contact of the north-western zone of the Classical Karst with the Lower Plain of the Isonzo/Soča River. At the bottom of the cave is the groundwater at an average altitude of 1.89 m a.s.l. In consideration of the proximity of the cave with the Adriatic Sea, the possible effects of the tides on the karst aquifer were investigated monitoring groundwater level, electrical conductivity (EC, K25) and water temperature using a CTD diver. Groundwater level daily oscillations show a lag of 4–4.5 hours compared to tides. The electrical conductivity variations that can be correlated to tides are 2–5 μS/cm. Excluding that the cave, given the altimetry, is directly affected by the saltwater wedge, the cyclical variations of the EC would derive from the dispersion at the salt water and fresh water interface and from the mobilization of more mineralized water coming from the rock mass. The hypothesis of mixing fresh and salt water and saline fossil waters in the caves of the area has been verified by a general increase in the chloride ion in this area of the karst aquifer compared to the internal areas of Classical Karst.
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