Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 63, Issue 6, pp 1355–1368 | Cite as

Groundwater origins and mixing pattern in the multilayer aquifer system of the Gafsa-south mining district: a chemical and isotopic approach

  • Younes Hamed
  • Lassaad DassiEmail author
  • Meriem Tarki
  • Riadh Ahmadi
  • Khalid Mehdi
  • Hamed Ben Dhia
Original Article


Major ion geochemistry and environmental isotopes were used to identify the origins and the mineralisation processes of groundwater flowing within the three aquifer levels of the multilayer system of the Gafsa-south mining district (Southwestern Tunisia). It has been demonstrated that groundwaters are characterised by a Ca–Mg–SO4 water type. Geochemical pattern is mainly controlled by the dissolution of halite, gypsum and/or anhydrite as well as by the incongruent dissolution of dolomite. δ18O and δ2H values are much lower than the isotopic signature of regional precipitation and fall close to the meteoric water lines, indicating that groundwaters have not been significantly affected by evaporation or mineral–water reactions. The distribution of stable and radiogenic isotopes (δ18O, δ2H, δ13C and 14C) within the aquifer levels suggests that the deep confined aquifer receives a significant modern recharge at higher altitudes, while, the shallow unconfined aquifer has been mainly recharged under cooler paleoclimatic condition, likely during Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene humid periods. However, waters from the intermediate confined/unconfined aquifer have composite isotopic signatures, highlighting that they are derived from a mixture of the two first end-members.


Major ion geochemistry Environmental isotopes Multilayer aquifer system Tunisia 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Younes Hamed
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lassaad Dassi
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Meriem Tarki
    • 3
  • Riadh Ahmadi
    • 1
  • Khalid Mehdi
    • 4
  • Hamed Ben Dhia
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire Eau-Energie-Environnement, ENISSfaxTunisia
  2. 2.Département des Sciences de la TerreFaculté des SciencesGabèsTunisia
  3. 3.Unité des Recherche Hydro-sciences Appliquées, ISSTEGabèsTunisia
  4. 4.Faculté des Sciences El JadidaUniversité Chouaïb DoukkaliEl JadidaMarroco

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