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Open AccessArticle

Evaporite Dissolution Rate through an on-site Experiment into Piezometric Tubes Applied to the Real Case-Study of Quinis (NE Italy)

Mathematics and Geosciences Department (DMG), University of Trieste, Via Weiss 2, 34128 Trieste, Italy
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Pisa, Via S. Maria, 53, 56126 Pisa, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Geosciences 2019, 9(7), 298;
Received: 23 April 2019 / Revised: 23 June 2019 / Accepted: 4 July 2019 / Published: 8 July 2019
The present paper deals with a field experiments on evaporite rock samples and groundwater investigations in the Quinis test site, a hamlet of the Enemonzo municipality in NE Italy, were sinkholes occurred in the past and are still occurring causing severe damage to the existing infrastructures. The area is characterised by a Carnian evaporitic bedrock made of gypsum and anhydrite mantled by alluvial and colluvial deposits. In order to evaluate the loss of weight and volume of the subcropping evaporites as responsible for sinkholes, a field-experiment was carried out. Inside seven piezometers, at different depths, evaporitic rock samples were exposed to the naturally occurring variable climatic conditions such as degree of humidity, different air flow and hydrodynamic. The rock samples were installed at the beginning of April 2017 in the dry sections of piezometric tubes, in the vadose zone and in the phreatic zone. Data related to water level fluctuations were recorded by using data-logger devices and highlight significant changes in the water table. After 13 months of data recording (May 2018), rock samples were removed, reweighted and the volume loss measured. In addition, water from piezometer-experiment, representative of the groundwater circulation, were collected at different depths. The obtained results indicate that rock sample reduction is dependent on the hydrological regime and water chemistry and not on the number of days during which the samples remained submersed. In particular, the water geochemistry highlights the possible role in gypsum/anhydrite dissolution due to NaCl water admixing in a complex scenario. In additional, the geochemical data highlight the occurrence of some potentially toxic elements (As, Fe, Mn) at concentrations of concern in some water. This approach represents a novel contribution in the study of karst hazard in evaporites adding a tile to the knowledge of the fast evolutionary processes which cause sinkhole formation. View Full-Text
Keywords: sinkholes; karst; geochemical analyses; hydrogeology; evaporite dissolution; gypsum sinkholes; karst; geochemical analyses; hydrogeology; evaporite dissolution; gypsum
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Calligaris, C.; Ghezzi, L.; Petrini, R.; Lenaz, D.; Zini, L. Evaporite Dissolution Rate through an on-site Experiment into Piezometric Tubes Applied to the Real Case-Study of Quinis (NE Italy). Geosciences 2019, 9, 298.

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