Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 14, pp 13597–13610 | Cite as

Assessing hydrothermal groundwater flow path using Kohonen’s SOM, geochemical data, and groundwater temperature cooling trend

  • Belgacem AgoubiEmail author
Research Article


Assessing groundwater flow path in a thermal aquifer, such as El Hamma aquifer, southeastern Tunisia, and its lateral communication with the adjacent Jeffara-Gabes aquifers, is a very complex operation which requires the integration of several approaches to understand and explain the reality of phenomenon. In this study, geochemical and isotopic data, Kohonen self-organizing map, temperature cooling trend, and kriging techniques were used to assess groundwater flow path in hydrothermal aquifer of El Hamma-Gabes, Tunisia. For this objective, 32 sampled wells are analyzed for major ions, electric conductivity, pH, total dissolved solids, and stables isotopes (δ2H and δ18O). Geochemical diagrams reveal that groundwater chemistry was controlled by evaporation, and rock-water interaction with a dominant water facies was Cl·SO4-Na·Ca-Mg. Kriging techniques were used to highlight groundwater flow path. Kohonen self-organizing map shows that the waters are clustered into three classes according to chemical and isotopic composition. These clusters represent a hydrothermal groundwater class from the Continental Intercalaire aquifer, a shallow groundwater class corresponding to Jeffara-Gabes aquifer and mixed water class. Groundwater cooling trend and stable isotopes indicate that groundwater flow is toward west to east part of study area, indicating a recharge of Jeffara aquifer from El Hamma thermal aquifer.


Stable isotopes Self-organizing map Groundwater flow Mixing water Tunisia 



I would like to thank Prof. Dr. Philippe Garrigues, and Dr. Matia Menichini and anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments, which greatly improved this manuscript. I also thank my English teacher’s colleagues for their efforts to improve the English quality of this manuscript so that this becomes more readable.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Higher Institute of Water Sciences and TechniquesUniversity of GabesGabesTunisia
  2. 2.UR: Applied Hydro-Sciences, Research Team “Geostatistics, hydrogeological and geochemical modeling”ZrigTunisia

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