Hydrogeology Journal

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 1193–1205 | Cite as

Evaluation of groundwater in a three-aquifer system in Ramtha area, Jordan: recharge mechanisms, hydraulic relationship and geochemical evolution



The groundwater wells in the Ramtha region of Jordan are tapping three aquifers: the upper, intermediate and deep aquifers. The upper aquifer groundwater is tritiated and its stable isotopic composition varies over a wide range. This signifies short residence times and local recharge from an elevation around 600 m above sea level. The groundwater of the upper aquifer has an elevated level of \( {\text{NO}}^{ - }_{{\text{3}}} \), which is attributed to anthropogenic sources. The intermediate and deep aquifers are untritiated and have long residence times. The stable isotope results signify a recharge elevation for the intermediate aquifer higher than that for the upper aquifer. Stable isotopes in groundwater from both aquifers clustered along the eastern meteoric water line and demonstrate association with the dominant climate of Jordan. The groundwater of the intermediate aquifer is classified as Ca2+- \( {\text{HCO}}^{ - }_{{\text{3}}} \), which reflects circulation through a carbonate aquifer. There is evidence that leakage from the upper aquifer has influenced the isotopic and chemical makeup of the groundwater in an intermediate aquifer well. The groundwater of the deep aquifer has the highest temperature in the basin and its isotopic composition is much more depleted than both the upper and intermediate aquifers and plots on the global meteoric water line.


Recharge altitude Paleohydrology Stable isotopes Contamination Jordan 


Les puits de la région de Ramtha en Jordanie captent trois aquifères : les aquifères supérieur, intermédiaire et profond. L’eau de l’aquifère supérieur est tritiée et sa composition en isotopes stables varie dans un large intervalle. Ceci signifie des temps de séjour courts et une recharge locale à une altitude d’environ 600 mètres au-dessus du niveau de la mer. L’eau de l’aquifère supérieur a une teneur en \({\text{NO}}_3^ - \) élevée, qui est attribuée à des origines anthropiques. Les aquifères intermédiaire et profond ne sont pas tritiés et ont des temps de séjour longs. Les valeurs des isotopes stables indiquent une altitude de recharge pour l’aquifère intermédiaire plus élevée que pour l’aquifère supérieur. Les isotopes stables de l’eau des deux aquifères groupés le long de la droite des eaux météoriques orientale démontrent une relation avec le climat prédominant en Jordanie. L’eau de l’aquifère intermédiaire est de type Ca2+-\({\text{HCO}}_3^ - \), ce qui traduit une circulation dans un aquifère carbonaté. Il est évident qu’un apport de l’aquifère supérieur a influencé la composition isotopique et chimique da l’eau d’un puits dans l’aquifère intermédiaire. L’eau de l’aquifère profond a la température la plus élevée dans le bassin et sa composition isotopique est bien plus déprimée que dans les deux aquifères supérieur et intermédiaire et se situe sur la droite globale de l’eau météorique.


Las perforaciones en la región de Ramtha de Jordania atraviesan tres acuíferos: los acuíferos superior, intermedio y profundo. El agua del acuífero superior contiene tritio y su composición isotópica varía en un rango amplio. Esto se interpreta como aguas de corto período de residencia recargadas localmente en una zona elevada a unos 600 m sobre el nivel del mar. El agua del acuífero superior posee elevadas concentraciones de \({\text{NO}}_3^ - \), de origen antropogénico. Las aguas de los acuíferos intermedio y profundo no contienen tritio y su período de residencia es largo. Los resultados de las concentraciones de isótopos estables sugieren que la recarga del acuífero intermedio proviene de alturas mayores que las correspondientes al acuífero superior. Los datos de isótopos estables de ambos acuíferos se agrupan a lo largo de la Línea Meteórica Este, y demuestra su asociación con el clima predominante en Jordania. El agua subterránea del acuífero intermedio se clasifica como Ca2+-\({\text{HCO}}_3^ - \), lo que refleja su circulación a través de un acuífero carbonático. Hay evidencias que las filtraciones desde el acuífero superior han influenciado las características químicas e isotópicas del acuífero intermedio. Las aguas del acuífero profundo son las de mayor temperatura en la cuenca, su composición isotópica es más reducida que aquella de los acuíferos superior e intermedio, y su posición gráfica se aproxima a la Línea Meteórica Mundial.


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© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology and Earth SciencesUniversity of Wisconsin-SuperiorSuperiorUSA

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