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Open AccessArticle

Unraveling Aquatic Quality Controls of a Nearly Undisturbed Mediterranean Island (Samothraki, Greece)

Hellenic Centre for Marine (Institute of Marine Biological Resources & Inland Waters) 19013 Anavyssos, Attika, Greece
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(2), 473;
Received: 16 December 2019 / Revised: 30 January 2020 / Accepted: 6 February 2020 / Published: 10 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Aquatic Systems—Quality and Contamination)
Due to its rough, mountainous relief, Samothraki remains one of the last minimally disturbed islands in the Mediterranean. This paper examines the hydrogeochemical regime of the island’s surface waters as it results from geological, morphological, and hydro(geo)logical controls within a frame of minimally disturbed environmental conditions. Shallow, fractured groundwater aquifers, in combination with steep slopes and predominant weathering resistant rocks, bring about flashy stream regimes with remarkably low solute concentrations. Streams and springs revealed hydrochemical similarities. Contrary to streams chiefly draining sedimentary rocks, streams underlined by granite and ophiolite rocks do not respond hydrochemically to geochemical differences. Using ion proportions instead of concentrations, geochemical fingertips of magmatic stream basins were detected. Atmospheric inputs largely affect stream and spring composition, e.g., by 75% regarding sodium. Only 20% of dissolved oxygen and pH variance was assigned to biological activity, while nutrient levels were consistent with the undisturbed conditions of the island, except nitrate. Small mountainous springs and brooks fed by restricted, fractured groundwater aquifers with perennial flow, despite scarce summer rainfalls, may be fueled by cloud and fog condensation. High night-day stream flow differences, high atmospheric humidity predominately occurring during the night, and low stream water travel times point out toward this phenomenon. View Full-Text
Keywords: undisturbed; hydrogeochemistry; aquatic quality; geomorphology; hydrology undisturbed; hydrogeochemistry; aquatic quality; geomorphology; hydrology
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Skoulikidis, N.T.; Lampou, A.; Laschou, S. Unraveling Aquatic Quality Controls of a Nearly Undisturbed Mediterranean Island (Samothraki, Greece). Water 2020, 12, 473.

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