Using geochemical indicators to investigate groundwater mixing and residence time in the aquifer system of Djeffara of Medenine southeastern Tunisia
Zouari, K.; Trabelsi, R.; Chkir, N.
Hydrogeology Journal 19.1
Stable isotopes (delta2 H, delta18 O and delta13 C) and radiocarbon (14 C) have been used in conjunction with chemical data to evaluate recharge mechanisms and groundwater residence time, and to identify inter-aquifer mixing in the Djeffara multi-aquifer in semi-arid southeastern Tunisia. The southern part of this basin, the Djeffara of Medenine aquifer system, is comprised of two main aquifers of Triassic and Miocene sandstone. The Triassic aquifer presents two compartments; the first one (west of the Medenine fault system) is unconfined with a well-defined isotope fingerprint; the second compartment is deeper and confined. Multi-tracer results show groundwater of different origins, ages and salinities, and that tectonic features control groundwater flows. Fresh and brackish groundwater from the unconfined part of the Triassic aquifer was mostly recharged during the Holocene. The recharge rates of this aquifer, inferred by14 C ages, are variable and could reach 3.5 mm/year. Brackish water of the deep confined part of the Triassic aquifer has stable isotope composition and14 C content that indicates earlier recharge during late Pleistocene cold periods. Brackish to saline water of the Miocene aquifer presents variable isotope composition. Groundwater flowing through the Medenine fault system is mainly feeding the Miocene aquifer rather than the deep confined part of the Triassic aquifer. Copyright 2010 Springer-Verlag