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The Pozzo del Sale Groundwaters (Irpinia, Southern Apennines, Italy): Origin and Mechanisms of Salinization

Abstract

Chemical and water isotope ratios data for groundwaters from the Pozzo del Sale area in the Irpinia sector of the Southern Apennines are presented. The water chemistry of the aquifer system may initially be regarded as the result of easy and common, low temperature interaction between meteoric water and Late Messinian evaporites, which produce Ca-bicarbonate and Na-chloride passing through Ca-sulfate waters. However, a closer inspection reveals a more complicated geochemical setting consisting of: (1) two further Na-sulfate and Ca(Mg)-sulfate waters; (2) the existence of different meteoric recharge areas; (3) the mixing between the different groundwaters and allochthonous fluids from terrestrial mud volcanoes. The salinization mechanism and the local mineralogy were inferred by classical and novel ternary and binary diagrams. The presence of MgSO4- and Na2SO4-bearing minerals of non-marine or mixed origin other than gypsum and halite within the local evaporites suggests a mineralogical heterogeneity within the local Messinian evaporites. The paleoenvironment of this sector of the Gessoso–Solfifera Formation might have been composed of relatively small playa-lakes fed by seawater but also large amounts of continental waters of meteoric origin.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for careful review of the manuscript, providing useful comments and suggestions that improved its quality.

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Correspondence to Tiziano Boschetti.

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Boschetti, T., De Felice, V. & Celico, F. The Pozzo del Sale Groundwaters (Irpinia, Southern Apennines, Italy): Origin and Mechanisms of Salinization. Aquat Geochem 19, 303–322 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10498-013-9196-5

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Keywords

  • Brine chemistry
  • Water isotope ratios
  • Late Messinian
  • Water-evaporite interaction
  • Non-marine evaporites