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Hydrochemical and isotopic characteristics of groundwater in the Continental Intercalaire aquifer system: Insights from Mzab Ridge and surrounding regions, North of the Algerian Sahara

Abstract : Study region : North of Sahara, Algeria. Study focus : The effects of water/rock interactions and hydrodynamic conditions on the characteristics of groundwater in the Continental Intercalaire aquifer (CI) are demonstrated using hydrochemical and isotopic data from the Mzab Ridge. New hydrological insights : The results confirm that CI groundwater in the oriental basin is highly mineralized (1010 > EC > 3500 μS/cm) and is of the SO4-Cl-Na type. However, it is poorly mineralized (340 > EC > 960) in the occidental basin and predominantly belongs to the HCO3-Ca type. The important contribution of evaporite minerals has been deduced using saturation indices and minor element ratios of Sr/Ca and Br/Cl. This is explained by lithological heterogeneities within the CI aquifer and corroborates the observations from regional piezometric features which suggest a groundwater divide located between 31.55° and 31.57 °N latitude. δ18O-NO3 and δ15N-NO3 analyses show that NO3 has a predominantly natural origin, which is soil nitrification even for the high concentrations exceeding 50 mg/L. CI groundwaters are highly depleted in both δ18O and δ2H compared to modern rainfall isotopic signatures. The most depleted ones are those situated in the Great Oriental Erg sub-basin. Isotopic values as low as δ18O=−6‰ can be taken as the limit for groundwater that is typically old. In the El Golea region, isotopic enrichment seems to indicate mixing between old groundwater and evaporation-affected groundwater infiltrating through the dunes of the Great Occidental Erg.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03325034
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Submitted on : Friday, August 27, 2021 - 7:48:13 AM
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Youcef Hakimi, Philippe Orban, Pierre Deschamps, Serge Brouyere. Hydrochemical and isotopic characteristics of groundwater in the Continental Intercalaire aquifer system: Insights from Mzab Ridge and surrounding regions, North of the Algerian Sahara. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, Elsevier, 2021, 34 (4), ⟨10.1016/j.ejrh.2021.100791⟩. ⟨hal-03325034⟩

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