Special Issue "Hydro-Geology of Karst Areas"

A special issue of Hydrology (ISSN 2306-5338).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 December 2022 | Viewed by 7823

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Mahmoud Sherif
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Lecturer of Hydrogeology, Department of Earth Sciences, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt
Interests: isotope hydrology; hydrogeology; radium; isotopic tracers; groundwater
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to invite you to contribute to the special issue on “Hydrogeology of Karst Areas” for Hydrology. Mahmoud Sherif (University of Delaware and Tanta university) will serve as a guest editor for this issue.

Groundwater is an essential part of the hydrologic cycle. It considered a vital water resource for agricultural, domestic, industrial, and energy production activities. Groundwater provides ~24.5% of the world’s fresh water supply.

Karst systems are an immense groundwater resource of worldwide distribution. They cover about 15.2% of the total continental surface of Earth (Goldscheider et al., 2020). These systems provide a fundamental water supply to almost a quarter of the world’s population (Ford and Williams, 2007). 

Karst groundwater aquifers are expected to be further exploited to meet the growing demand for water as population increases. However, these aquifers have shown high vulnerability to contamination due to their high permeability (Kačaroğlu, 1999).

Understanding the hydrogeologic complexities of karst aquifers has been a focus of research conducted over the past few decades. These systems display high heterogeneity and anisotropy in their hydrogeological properties, thus the prediction of their behavior is highly challenging. In this special issue, we seek both research and review papers that address one or more of the following topics:

  • Numerical simulation of groundwater flow.
  • Geological, hydrological and hydrogeochemical investigations of karst systems.
  • Advances in isotopic investigations of karst systems.
  • Karst groundwater vulnerability assessment and remediation.
  • Management and mitigation of karst groundwater resources.

Dr. Mahmoud Sherif
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Hydrology is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Karst aquifers
  • groundwater
  • groundwater flow
  • modelling
  • hydrochemistry
  • hydrology
  • water quality
  • remediation

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
A Decade of Cave Drip Hydrographs Shows Spatial and Temporal Variability in Epikarst Storage and Recharge to Appalachian Karst Systems
Hydrology 2022, 9(8), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/hydrology9080131 - 25 Jul 2022
Viewed by 372
Abstract
We conducted recession analyses on cave drip hydrographs from a 10-year record (2008–2018) of three drip monitoring stations within James Cave (Pulaski County, VA, USA) to examine differences in hydrologic characteristics of the epikarst and quantify the storage volume of the epikarst feeding [...] Read more.
We conducted recession analyses on cave drip hydrographs from a 10-year record (2008–2018) of three drip monitoring stations within James Cave (Pulaski County, VA, USA) to examine differences in hydrologic characteristics of the epikarst and quantify the storage volume of the epikarst feeding the drips. We used two recession analysis methods (correlation and matching strip) to calculate recession coefficients for multiple hydrographs at each site. Results show subtle differences between the three drip sites, suggestive of spatial heterogeneity in permeability and storage in the overlying epikarst. Storage volume calculations show that during the recharge season, up to 95% of recharge through the epikarst to the cave occurs through rapid pathways (i.e., fractures), and 5% of recharge occurs through diffuse pathways (i.e., pores). However, during the recession period, recharge through rapid pathways in the epikarst decreases and occurs predominantly through diffuse flow. Combined, these results underscore the importance of documenting spatial and temporal characterization of drip rates and other recharge inputs into karst systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydro-Geology of Karst Areas)
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Article
A Holistic Approach to Study Groundwater-Surface Water Modifications Induced by Strong Earthquakes: The Case of Campiano Catchment (Central Italy)
Hydrology 2022, 9(6), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/hydrology9060097 - 31 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 888
Abstract
Carbonate aquifers are characterised by strong heterogeneities and their modelling is often a challenging aspect in hydrological studies. Understanding carbonate aquifers can be more complicated in the case of strong seismic events which have been widely demonstrated to influence groundwater flow over wide [...] Read more.
Carbonate aquifers are characterised by strong heterogeneities and their modelling is often a challenging aspect in hydrological studies. Understanding carbonate aquifers can be more complicated in the case of strong seismic events which have been widely demonstrated to influence groundwater flow over wide areas or on a local scale. The 2016–2017 seismic sequence of Central Italy is a paradigmatic example of how earthquakes play an important role in groundwater and surface water modifications. The Campiano catchment, which experienced significant discharge modifications immediately after the mainshocks of the 2016–2017 seismic sequence (Mmax = 6.5) has been analysed in this study. The study area is within an Italian national park (Sibillini Mts.) and thus has importance from a naturalistic and socio-economic standpoint. The research strategy coupled long-period artificial tracer tests (conducted both before and after the main earthquakes), geochemical and discharge analyses and isotope hydrology with hydrogeological cross-sections. This study highlights how the seismic sequence temporarily changed the behaviour of the normal faults which act predominantly as barriers to flow in the inter-seismic period, with water flow being normally favoured along the fault strikes. On the contrary, during earthquakes, groundwater flow can be significantly diverted perpendicularly to fault-strikes due to co-seismic fracturing and a consequent permeability increase. The interaction between groundwater and surface water is not only important from the point of view of scientific research but also has significant implications at an economic and social level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydro-Geology of Karst Areas)
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Article
Mixed Recharge and Epikarst Role in a Complex Metamorphic Karst Aquifer: The Pollaccia System, Apuan Alps (Tuscany, Italy)
Hydrology 2022, 9(5), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/hydrology9050083 - 11 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 693
Abstract
The Apuan Alps (Italy) are an internationally renowned karst region where several karst springs have a mean discharge exceeding 100 L/s, thus representing important water resources. One of the major springs, the Pollaccia, was monitored for approximately one year. This spring drains a [...] Read more.
The Apuan Alps (Italy) are an internationally renowned karst region where several karst springs have a mean discharge exceeding 100 L/s, thus representing important water resources. One of the major springs, the Pollaccia, was monitored for approximately one year. This spring drains a structurally complex metamorphic karst aquifer that is characterized by multiple hydrologic sectors with variable recharge and infiltration styles. Spring discharge, water temperature, and electrical conductivity were compared to precipitation data, and time lag analysis was performed on 27 storm hydro/thermo/chemographs (HTC-graphs) that occurred in different hydrological phases. A marked seasonality was observed for all the monitored parameters and for the measured lags. The comparison of the storm HTC-graphs with no precipitation phases permitted recognition of the differential contribution of the various sectors. The Pollaccia’s hydrodynamic behavior was related to three different scenarios in the recharge area: (1) allogenic runoff recharge in the noncarbonate sectors; (2) autogenic recharge and runoff over the steeply dipping marble outcrops, characterized by fast epiphreatic flow through master conduits and low epikarst storage; (3) autogenic recharge through highly fractured, gently dipping marble outcrops, characterized by quick hydraulic pressure transfer to the phreatic zone and relevant epikarst storage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydro-Geology of Karst Areas)
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Article
Hydrological Behavior of Karst Systems Identified by Statistical Analyses of Stable Isotope Monitoring Results
Hydrology 2022, 9(5), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/hydrology9050082 - 11 May 2022
Viewed by 670
Abstract
The article presents findings of a two-year systematic study of stable isotope content in two karst groundwater resources in Primorsko-goranska county (Croatia): the Martinšćica wells (MWs) and the Dobrica spring (DBC). The temporal and spatial variation of hydrogen and oxygen isotopes is commonly [...] Read more.
The article presents findings of a two-year systematic study of stable isotope content in two karst groundwater resources in Primorsko-goranska county (Croatia): the Martinšćica wells (MWs) and the Dobrica spring (DBC). The temporal and spatial variation of hydrogen and oxygen isotopes is commonly studied in conjunction with hydrogeological conditions such as groundwater dynamics and discharge conditions. However, since this information was incomplete, we were forced to work with limited data and rely on analyses of stable isotope monitoring results. The obtained results show that winter precipitation is the most common recharge source for the systems, and the average residence time of water in the subsurface is less than a year. Furthermore, the MWs system is a typical dual-porosity system with dominant base flow. The results of the nonparametric regression analysis show that the possibility of seawater intrusion into the spring affecting DBC isotope content cannot be ruled out. We believe that the results presented in the paper demonstrate that when combined with statistical analyses, environmental stable isotopes are a powerful tool for gaining insights in karst hydrogeology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydro-Geology of Karst Areas)
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Article
Hydrological System of the Plitvice Lakes—Trends and Changes in Water Levels, Inflows, and Losses
Hydrology 2021, 8(4), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/hydrology8040174 - 26 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 750
Abstract
The Plitvice Lakes National Park is inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The lake system is composed of 16 cascading lakes of different sizes separated by tufa barriers, which are the park’s key phenomenon. The lakes are characterized by highly diverse trends of [...] Read more.
The Plitvice Lakes National Park is inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The lake system is composed of 16 cascading lakes of different sizes separated by tufa barriers, which are the park’s key phenomenon. The lakes are characterized by highly diverse trends of the characteristic hydrological indicators—mean annual water levels, discharges, and tufa barrier growth. The analyses carried out in this paper identified that in the period before the early 1990s, Kozjak Lake had a trend of decreasing discharges, together with a trend of increasing water levels and growing tufa barriers. In contrast to this, in the period after 2001, a trend of increasing discharges was recorded, as well as a trend of decreasing water levels and decreasing tufa barriers. A potential cause of the barriers decreasing in size were the extremely high discharges during the last decade, which resulted in increased erosion of the tufa barriers. Losses of water due to the sinking from the lake system as well as the upper Korana course were confirmed, and it was identified that during the analyzed period the losses had not changed significantly. It was determined that the losses of water from Kozjak Lake occurred during low-water periods; however, they depended not only on the quantity of water flowing through the lakes but also on the hydrological conditions underground. The analyses carried out and the methodological procedures used in the analyzed area of the Plitvice Lakes are useful examples for the performance of analyses at similar lakes in karst formed by tufa deposition processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydro-Geology of Karst Areas)
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Article
Tracer Dispersion through Karst Conduit: Assessment of Small-Scale Heterogeneity by Multi-Point Tracer Test and CFD Modeling
Hydrology 2021, 8(4), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/hydrology8040168 - 10 Nov 2021
Viewed by 963
Abstract
Tracer tests are widely used for characterizing hydrodynamics, from stream-scale to basin-wide scale. In karstic environments, the positioning of field fluorometers (or sampling) is mostly determined by the on-site configuration and setup difficulties. Most users are probably aware of the importance of this [...] Read more.
Tracer tests are widely used for characterizing hydrodynamics, from stream-scale to basin-wide scale. In karstic environments, the positioning of field fluorometers (or sampling) is mostly determined by the on-site configuration and setup difficulties. Most users are probably aware of the importance of this positioning for the relevance of data, and single-point tests are considered reliable. However, this importance is subjective to the user and the impact of positioning is not well quantified. This study aimed to quantify the spatial heterogeneity of tracer concentration through time in a karstic environment, and its impact on tracer test results and derived information on local hydrodynamics. Two approaches were considered: on-site tracing experiments in a karstic river, and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modeling of tracer dispersion through a discretized karst river channel. A comparison between on-site tracer breakthrough curves and CFD results was allowed by a thorough assessment of the river geometry. The results of on-site tracer tests showed significant heterogeneities of the breakthrough curve shape from fluorometers placed along a cross-section. CFD modeling of the tracer test through the associated discretized site geometry showed similar heterogeneity and was consistent with the positioning of on-site fluorometers, thus showing that geometry is a major contributor of the spatial heterogeneity of tracer concentration through time in karstic rivers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydro-Geology of Karst Areas)
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Article
Hydro-Stratigraphic Conditions and Human Activity Leading to Development of a Sinkhole Cluster in a Mediterranean Water Ecosystem
Hydrology 2021, 8(3), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/hydrology8030111 - 31 Jul 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 830
Abstract
Salento Peninsula (Apulia, southern Italy) is characterised by many active sinkholes, which represent the main geological hazard. The stretch of coastline between the village of Casalabate and Le Cesine wildlife reserve is highly affected, with a system of dunes separating the low beach [...] Read more.
Salento Peninsula (Apulia, southern Italy) is characterised by many active sinkholes, which represent the main geological hazard. The stretch of coastline between the village of Casalabate and Le Cesine wildlife reserve is highly affected, with a system of dunes separating the low beach from extensive wetlands, which were subject to uncontrolled urban development after reclamation. The overall morphology is characterized by flat topography, whilst from a hydrogeological standpoint, the mixing of inland freshwater with advancing brackish water favours the higher aggressivity with respect to soluble rocks, and the development of enhanced dissolution (hyperkarst). The relict landscapes within the protected areas still allow for the recognition of actively occurring sinkholes, which cause damage to houses, the road network and infrastructures. In this article the case of Aquatina di Frigole is described, where in the last 15 years numerous sinkholes have formed, with the processes still in rapid evolution. Detailed surveys allow for to identification of the mechanisms of sinkhole formation (suffusion sinkholes), the deriving cluster, and the main hydrogeological links among the different water bodies in the area. Acquatina di Frigole provides an excellent natural laboratory to observe development and evolution of sinkholes, and their relationships with the stratigraphic and hydrogeological elements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydro-Geology of Karst Areas)
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Review

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Review
Karst Brackish Springs of Albania
Hydrology 2022, 9(7), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/hydrology9070127 - 20 Jul 2022
Viewed by 438
Abstract
The territory of Albania presents wide outcrops of soluble rocks, with typical karst landforms and the presence of remarkable carbonate aquifers. Many karst areas are located near the coasts, which results in a variety of environmental problems, mostly related to marine intrusion. This [...] Read more.
The territory of Albania presents wide outcrops of soluble rocks, with typical karst landforms and the presence of remarkable carbonate aquifers. Many karst areas are located near the coasts, which results in a variety of environmental problems, mostly related to marine intrusion. This paper focuses on the brackish springs of Albania, which exhibit temperatures approximately equal to the yearly air temperature at their location. Total dissolved solids of the springs are higher than 1000 mg/L, their waters are not drinkable, and they are rarely used for other purposes. The groundwater of the alluvial aquifers of Albania, particularly those of Pre-Adriatic Lowland, are often brackish too, but these will not be addressed here. Brackish springs of Albania are mainly of karst origin and can be classified into two groups: springs in evaporitic rock, mainly gypsum, and springs in carbonate rock. The hydro-chemical facies of the first group are usually Ca-SO4, locally with increased concentrations of Na-Cl, whereas springs belonging to the second group usually exhibit Na-Cl facies. The largest brackish springs of Albania are described in detail, including their hydro-chemical correlations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydro-Geology of Karst Areas)
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Other

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Technical Note
Characterizing Hydrological Functioning of Three Large Karst Springs in the Salem Plateau, Missouri, USA
Hydrology 2022, 9(6), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/hydrology9060096 - 27 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 854
Abstract
Spring discharge hydrographs can provide information on karst aquifer connectivity and responses to precipitation. However, few studies have conducted time-series analyses of spring hydrographs over multi-decadal time scales. We examine daily discharge for three large karst springs and daily precipitation for adjoining weather [...] Read more.
Spring discharge hydrographs can provide information on karst aquifer connectivity and responses to precipitation. However, few studies have conducted time-series analyses of spring hydrographs over multi-decadal time scales. We examine daily discharge for three large karst springs and daily precipitation for adjoining weather stations during 1928–2019 in the Salem Plateau of southern Missouri, one of the major karst regions in the USA. For different time periods, we conducted baseflow index calculations and time-series (autocorrelation, spectral density, and cross-correlation with precipitation) analyses for discharge data, and Mann–Kendall (MK) trend analyses for discharge and precipitation data. Hydrograph separation indicates discharge is baseflow-dominated (86–94%) at all three springs. The memory effect is lower for Bennett Spring (with an auto-correlation lag time 29–41 days) than for Big Spring (60–92 days) and Greer Spring (77–112 days). Spectral density analysis indicates that annual signals dominate all three springs. Cross-correlation analysis shows a quicker response to precipitation at Bennett Spring (0–1 days) than at Big and Greer springs (1–2 days). MK trend analysis shows significant increases in discharge for all three springs over multiple decades, but not for the period 2007–2019. Increased discharge accompanies regional increases in precipitation, but may also reflect increased recharge associated with reversion of farmland to forest. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydro-Geology of Karst Areas)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Mixed recharge and epikarst role on the hydrodynamic of a structurally complex metamorphic karst aquifer: the Pollaccia system, Apuan Alps (Tuscany, Italy)
Authors: Alessia Nannoni; Leonardo Piccini
Affiliation: Department of earth Science, Università di Firenze, Italy
Abstract: The Apuan Alps (Italy) are an internationally renowned karst region where several karst springs have a mean discharge exceeding 100 l/s, thus representing important water resources. One of the major springs, the Pollaccia, was monitored for a year. This spring drains a structurally complex metamorphic karst aquifer that is characterized by multiple hydrologic compartments, variable recharge styles, and infiltration rates. Spring discharge, water temperature, and electrical con-ductivity were compared to precipitation data and time lag analysis was performed on 27 storm hydro/thermo/chemo-graphs (HTC-graph) that occurred in different hydrological phases. A marked seasonality was observed for all the monitored parameters and for the measured lags. The comparison of the storm HTC-graphs with phases with no precipitation permitted to recognize the differential contribution of the various sectors. The Pollaccia spring hydrodynamic behavior is related to three scenarios in the recharge area: 1) runoff recharge in the non-carbonate sectors, 2) autogenic recharge and runoff over the steeply-dipping marble outcrops, fast epiphreatic flow through master conduits, no epikarst storage, and 3) autogenic recharge through highly frac-tured-gently dipping marble outcrops, quick hydraulic pressure transfer to the phreatic zone, relevant epikarst storage.

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