HYDROGEOLOGICAL FUNCTIONING OF A KARST AQUIFER DEDUCED FROM HYDROCHEMICAL COMPONENTS AND NATURAL ORGANIC TRACERS PRESENT IN SPRING WATERS. THE CASE OF YEDRA SPRING (SOUTHERN SPAIN)
Matías MUDARRA, Bartolomé ANDREO - (39/2,2010)
The major chemical parameters, TOC and natural fluorescence of yedra spring, Malaga province, southern Spain were monitored from April 2008 to March 2009. The electrical conductivity and the concentrations of most major ions decreased following recharge periods. The TOC and NO3–, representing tracers from the soil that infiltrate through the unsaturated zone, were found to vary inversely with the Mg2+ content, which is a natural indicator of groundwater residence time. Furthermore, a strong, direct relation was found between TOC and the natural fluorescence associated with humic and fulvic acids. Both parameters respond similarly to rainfall events, exhibiting significant increases during recharge followed by reductions during recession. This relation means that TOC mainly originates from organic acids. The results document rapid infiltration processes with a lag of less than one day following rainfall, which is typical of a karst aquifer with conduit flow, rapid drainage and limited natural regulation. The combined use of conventional hydrochemical parameters and natural organic tracers facilitates aquifer characterization and validates the vulnerability to contamination.