Hydrogeological and hydrochemical characterization of two karstic discharge areas in San Luis Potosí, Mexico

Krienen L., Heuser, M., Höbig, N., Mares, M. E., Rüde, T. R., Cardona, A.
Environmental Earth Sciences 76:825. ISSN: 1866-6280 (Print) 1866-6299 (Online), 2017.


Two karstic discharge areas, Río Verde (RV) and Ciénega de Cabezas (CC), located in a distance of 80 km to each other are chosen to determine the influence of local variations in geology and climatic condition on water chemistry and to examine if the groundwater, supplying the discharge areas, undergoes the same evolution and has a common source. Both study areas are situated on the carbonate platform Valles-San Luis Potosí and comprise a similar geological setting, but despite of their spatial vicinity the climate is semiarid in RV and humid in CC presenting an important factor on the amount of discharge and the concentrations of ions in the discharge. The investigation encompasses discharge, hydrochemical and physico-chemical parameter evaluations as well as the determination of saturation indices, hydrochemical modelling and water type characterization of surface water samples to derive knowledge of the groundwater systems. Scatterplots and saturation indices were used to proof the influence of lithological variability. Both study areas represent normal alkaline water, marked by high concentrations of calcium and magnesium with varying concentrations of bicarbonate and sulphate. In RV, the water interacts with dolomite rocks and gypsum layers, whereas in CC the dolomite content is depleted and the influence of limestone rocks increases. The climatic impact on the groundwater in RV is noticeable by the increase in ionic concentrations due to higher evaporation. In CC the higher amount of precipitation dilutes the groundwater and causes decreasing ionic concentrations.