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Identification of Natural and Anthropogenic Geochemical Processes Determining the Groundwater Quality in Port del Comte High Mountain Karst Aquifer (SE, Pyrenees)

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Àrea de Recursos Geològics, Institut Cartogràfic i Geològic de Catalunya (ICGC), 08038 Barcelona, Spain
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Departament d’Enginyeria Minera, Industrial i TIC, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), 08240 Manresa, Spain
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Instituto Geológico y Minero de España (IGME), 50006 Zaragoza, Spain
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Grup MAiMA, SGR Mineralogia Aplicada, Geoquímica i Geomicrobiologia, Departament de Mineralogia, Petrologia i Geologia Aplicada, Facultat de Ciències de la Terra, Universitat de Barcelona (UB), 08028 Barcelona, Spain
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Grupo de Hidrología Subterránea, Departament d’Enginyeria Civil i Ambiental, Real Academia de Ciencias, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), 08034 Barcelona, Spain
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Kang-Kun Lee
Water 2021, 13(20), 2891; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13202891
Received: 6 September 2021 / Revised: 2 October 2021 / Accepted: 9 October 2021 / Published: 15 October 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Hydrogeology)
The Port del Comte Massif (SE, Pyrenees) contains one of the most important vulnerable and strategic karst aquifers for supplying freshwater to the city of Barcelona (Spain). It is a fragile system, whose possible environmental impact is highly conditioned by land use. To improve the hydrogeological knowledge of the system, between September 2013 and October 2015, a detailed fieldwork was carried out for the revision of the geological model, the inventory of water points, and the in situ physico-chemical characterization on major elements and isotopes of up to a total of 43 springs, as well as precipitation water. This paper focuses on the characterization of the geochemical processes that allow explanation of the observed chemical variability of groundwater drained by the pristine aquifer system to determine the origin of salinity. The results show that the main process is the dissolution of calcite and dolomite, followed by gypsum and halite, and a minor cation exchange-like process. Sulfur and oxygen isotopes from dissolved sulfate in the studied springs point out a geogenic origin related to the dissolution of gypsum from Triassic and Tertiary materials, and that the contribution from anthropogenic sources, like fertilizers, is lower. Nitrate in groundwater is not an important issue, with a few localized cases related with agricultural activities. The multidisciplinary approach has allowed the development of a consistent hydrogeological conceptual model of the functioning of the aquifer system, which can be replicated in other places to understand the geogenic character of the hydrogeochemistry. View Full-Text
Keywords: high-mountain; karst system; Port del Comte Massif; water–rock interaction; geogenic and anthropogenic contamination; stable isotopes; inverse modelling high-mountain; karst system; Port del Comte Massif; water–rock interaction; geogenic and anthropogenic contamination; stable isotopes; inverse modelling
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MDPI and ACS Style

Herms, I.; Jódar, J.; Soler, A.; Lambán, L.J.; Custodio, E.; Núñez, J.A.; Arnó, G.; Parcerisa, D.; Jorge-Sánchez, J. Identification of Natural and Anthropogenic Geochemical Processes Determining the Groundwater Quality in Port del Comte High Mountain Karst Aquifer (SE, Pyrenees). Water 2021, 13, 2891. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13202891

AMA Style

Herms I, Jódar J, Soler A, Lambán LJ, Custodio E, Núñez JA, Arnó G, Parcerisa D, Jorge-Sánchez J. Identification of Natural and Anthropogenic Geochemical Processes Determining the Groundwater Quality in Port del Comte High Mountain Karst Aquifer (SE, Pyrenees). Water. 2021; 13(20):2891. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13202891

Chicago/Turabian Style

Herms, Ignasi, Jorge Jódar, Albert Soler, Luís J. Lambán, Emilio Custodio, Joan A. Núñez, Georgina Arnó, David Parcerisa, and Joan Jorge-Sánchez. 2021. "Identification of Natural and Anthropogenic Geochemical Processes Determining the Groundwater Quality in Port del Comte High Mountain Karst Aquifer (SE, Pyrenees)" Water 13, no. 20: 2891. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13202891

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