Carbonates and Evaporites

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 235–254 | Cite as

The alluvial aquifer of the Lower Magra Basin (La Spezia, Italy): conceptual hydrogeochemical–hydrogeological model, behavior of solutes, and groundwater dynamics

  • Gianpiero Brozzo
  • Marina Accornero
  • Luigi MariniEmail author
Original Article


The alluvial aquifer of the Lower Magra Basin (La Spezia Province, Italy) is mainly recharged by two main rivers of the region, Magra and Vara, with a subordinate contribution from rain waters infiltrating in the eastern horst adjacent to the graben of the Lower Magra River. This conceptual model is consistent with the constraints provided by both piezometric maps and chemical and isotopic data of local groundwaters and fluvial waters. Chemical data also suggest that, in the considered system, Cl and SO4 have mobile (conservative) behaviour, and Na, K, and Sr have close-to-mobile behaviour; in other words, the contents of these chemical components are essentially fixed by mixing relationships between Magra and Vara river waters. In contrast, Mg, Ca, Ba, HCO3, and SiO2 are largely contributed by water–rock interaction. Unexpectedly, Li has non-mobile behavior owing to either incorporation into secondary minerals or sorption onto solid phases or both. The discovery of two natural sources, one of Cl and the other of SO4, in the basin of the Aullella Creek, a tributary of the Upper Magra River, made possible a key understanding of groundwater dynamics. Every year, during the summer, a mass of Cl and SO4-rich waters originating from the Aullella Creek enters the alluvial aquifer of the Lower Magra Basin. Average groundwater velocity and average permeability, representative of the entire alluvial aquifer of interest, were derived based on the movement of this high-salinity water mass.


Groundwater Thermo-mineral water Alluvial aquifer Magra River Vara River 



This study was partly funded by the Programme Interreg IIIB MEDOCC of the European Community. Comments and severe criticisms to earlier versions by almost a dozen anonymous reviewers and several editors greatly helped to improve the paper.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gianpiero Brozzo
    • 1
  • Marina Accornero
    • 2
  • Luigi Marini
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory of Environmental Control, ACAM Acque S.p.A.La SpeziaItaly
  2. 2.D’Appolonia S.p.A.GenoaItaly
  3. 3.Laboratory of Geochemistry, Dip.Te.Ris., University of GenovaGenoaItaly
  4. 4.Institute of Geosciences and Georesources, C.N.R., Area della RicercaPisaItaly

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