Hydrogeological functioning of a karst aquifer deduced from hydrochemical components and natural organic tracers present in spring waters. The case of Yedra Spring (Southern Spain)

Matías Mudarra, Bartolomé Andreo

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3986/ac.v39i2.98

Abstract

The major chemical parameters, TOC and natural fluorescence of Yedra spring, Malaga province, southern Spain were moni­tored from April 2008 to March2009. The electrical conductiv­ity and the concentrations of most major ions decreased follow­ing recharge periods. The TOC and NO3–, representing tracers from the soil that infiltrate throughthe unsaturated zone, were found to vary inversely withthe Mg2+ content, whichis a natu­ral indicator of groundwater residence time. Furthermore, a strong, direct relation was found between TOC and the natu­ral fluorescence associated withhumic and fulvic acids. Bothparameters respond similarly to rainfall events, exhibiting sig­nificant increases during recharge followed by reductions dur­ing recession. This relation means that TOC mainly originates from organic acids. The results document rapid infiltration pro­cesses witha lag of less than one day following rainfall, whichis typical of a karst aquifer withconduit flow, rapid drainage and limited natural regulation. The combined use of conventional hydrochemical parameters and natural organic tracers facili­tates aquifer characterization and validates the vulnerability to contamination.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3986/ac.v39i2.98

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