Groundwater monitoring of an open-pit limestone quarry: groundwater characteristics, evolution and their connections to rock slopes

  • Khy Eam Eang
  • Toshifumi Igarashi
  • Ryota Fujinaga
  • Megumi Kondo
  • Carlito Baltazar Tabelin


Groundwater flow and its geochemical evolution in mines are important not only in the study of contaminant migration but also in the effective planning of excavation. The effects of groundwater on the stability of rock slopes and other mine constructions especially in limestone quarries are crucial because calcite, the major mineral component of limestone, is moderately soluble in water. In this study, evolution of groundwater in a limestone quarry located in Chichibu city was monitored to understand the geochemical processes occurring within the rock strata of the quarry and changes in the chemistry of groundwater, which suggests zones of deformations that may affect the stability of rock slopes. There are three distinct geological formations in the quarry: limestone layer, interbedded layer of limestone and slaty greenstone, and slaty greenstone layer as basement rock. Although the hydrochemical facies of all groundwater samples were Ca-HCO3 type water, changes in the geochemical properties of groundwater from the three geological formations were observed. In particular, significant changes in the chemical properties of several groundwater samples along the interbedded layer were observed, which could be attributed to the mixing of groundwater from the limestone and slaty greenstone layers. On the rainy day, the concentrations of Ca2+ and HCO3 in the groundwater fluctuated notably, and the groundwater flowing along the interbedded layer was dominated by groundwater from the limestone layer. These suggest that groundwater along the interbedded layer may affect the stability of rock slopes.


Geochemical evolution Interbedded layer Hydrochemical facies Groundwater mixing Rock slope stability 

Supplementary material

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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Groundwater and Mass Transport, Division of Sustainable Resources Engineering, Graduate School of EngineeringHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  2. 2.Laboratory of Groundwater and Mass Transport, Division of Sustainable Resources Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  3. 3.Mitsubishi Materials CorporationTokyoJapan
  4. 4.Laboratory of Mineral Processing and Resources Recycling, Division of Sustainable Resources Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan

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