Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 65, Issue 2, pp 411–420 | Cite as

Hydrogeochemistry of fluoride in the Quequen river basin: natural pollutants distribution in the argentine pampa

  • D. E. MartínezEmail author
  • O. M. Quiroz Londoño
  • H. E. Massone
  • P. Palacio Buitrago
  • L. Lima
Special Issue


Fluoride pollution is a widespread problem in Argentina, as it is in many areas of the World. Former investigations have demonstrated that the dissolution of volcanic glass disseminated in the loess-like sediments is the main source of fluoride in the Argentine pampas. Nevertheless, fluoride distribution is erratic and the factors controlling it are not yet well-known. A large amount of hydrochemical data collected in the Quequen Grande river catchment is used in order to contribute to the understanding of fluoride distribution and mobility in groundwater in the Argentine pampas. The Quequen Grande river catchment is 10,000 km2. It extends between two low hills ranges of Precambrian metamorphic rocks and sedimentary Paleozoic rocks, filled by a thick sequence of Cenozoic sediments, mainly silts and silt-clayed, with sand layers. These sediments form a multilayer phreatic aquifer, which is recharged from precipitation infiltration, discharging through streams directly into the sea. Fluoride concentration in surface water (n = 353) ranges between 0 and 6.5 mg/l, with an average value of 2.14 mg/l. Groundwater concentration (n = 135) is from 0 up to 5.7 mg/l, with an average of 1.84 mg/l. Considering the statistic distribution of fluoride, two groups of samples can be determined. A dominant group between 0 and 3 mg/l, with a mean value around 1.5 mg/l, corresponding to samples widely distributed in the catchment; and a second one group with fluoride contents between 3 and 6 mg/l, corresponding to a smaller area in the central-west border. Two different sources are proposed. Volcanic glass dissolution is responsible for dominant values in the catchment, while the weathering of biotite from the Paleozoic bedrock can be assumed to account for the higher concentrations in the second group.


Argentine pampas Quequen Grande river Fluoride Hydrogeochemisty 



The authors are grateful to Mr. Gustavo Bernava from the water chemical analyses. This study was supported by grants from ANPCyT, CONICET, and IAEA.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. E. Martínez
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • O. M. Quiroz Londoño
    • 1
    • 2
  • H. E. Massone
    • 2
  • P. Palacio Buitrago
    • 3
  • L. Lima
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.CONICETMar del PlataArgentina
  2. 2.Instituto de Geología de Costas y del CuaternarioUniversidad Nacional de Mar del PlataMar del PlataArgentina
  3. 3.Universidad de AntioquiaMedellinColombia

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