Integrative methodology for the identification of groundwater flow patterns: application in a semi-arid region of Mexico

Navarro-Solis O., González-Trinidad, J., Júnez-Ferreira, H. E., Cardona, A., Bautista-Capetillo, C.
Applied Ecology and Environmental Research 14 (4): 645-666. http://www.aloki.h, ISSN 1589 1623 (Print), ISSN 1785 0037 (Online), DOI:, 2016.


Generating knowledge to explain the dynamics and physicochemical characteristics of groundwater is essential to ensure its availability for different uses. Therefore, in this article we propose an integrated methodology that may help to define the flow patterns governing the movement of groundwater in a semiarid region of Mexico. The methodology incorporates hydrogeochemical characterization with the application of flow systems theory, the behaviour of arsenic and fluoride as indicators of the quality for human consumption and a correlation matrix to identify potential areas of recharge-discharge; these variables are grouped in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The results explain how the movement of groundwater was influenced by the dissolution of silicates with the geochemical evolution of arsenic under two natural conditions; however, in one of these conditions, the mobility was facilitated by the presence of mining activities, whereas fluoride exhibited two situations, one natural and the other anthropogenic. Four hydrogeochemical facies were manifested in three flow patterns, with a potential recharge zone in the west of the study area, a discharge zone in the east and a mixture flowing to the northwest. We concluded that the proposed methodology represents a tool for facilitating understanding of the movement of groundwater.