Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 71, Issue 11, pp 4767–4782 | Cite as

Hydrogeochemistry and quality of groundwater of coastal unconfined aquifer in Amol–Ghaemshahr plain, Mazandaran Province, Northern Iran

  • Houshang Khairy
  • M. R. JanardhanaEmail author
Original Article


Groundwater of the unconfined aquifer (1,100 sq. km) of a two-tier coastal aquifer located in the Amol–Ghaemshahr plain, Mazandaran Province, Northern Iran, is classified into fresh and brackish water types. Fresh groundwater (FGW) samples (n = 36) are characterized by Ca2+ > Na> Mg2+ > K+ and HCO3  > Cl > SO4 2− > NO3 . Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient matrices, factor analysis data, values of the C-ratio (av. = 0.89) and CAI and values of the molar ratios of Ca2+/HCO3 , Ca2+/SO4 2−, Mg2+/HCO3 and Mg2+/SO4 2− indicate that the ionic load in the FGW is derived essentially from carbonic acid-aided weathering of carbonates and aluminosilicates, saline/sea water trapped in the aquifer sediments (now admixed with the groundwater) and ion exchange reactions. Values of the CAI and Na+/Cl molar ratio suggest that the part of the Ca2+ (±Mg2+) content in 23 FGW samples is derived from clay minerals of the aquifer matrix, and part of the Na+ content in 20, 12, and 3 FGW samples is derived, respectively, from alkali feldspar weathering, clay minerals of the aquifer matrix and rain water and/or halite. Brackish groundwater (BGW) samples (n = 4) contain Cl as the dominant anion and their average total ionic concentration (38.65 meq/L) is 1.79 times higher than that of the FGW samples (21.50 meq/L). BGW pockets were generated by non-conservative mixing of FGW with the upconed saline water from the underlying saline groundwater zone of the semi-confined aquifer along bore wells involved in excessive extraction of groundwater from the unconfined aquifer. Groundwater belongs essentially to “high salinity, low sodium” irrigation water class.


Coastal unconfined aquifer Groundwater types Hydrogeochemistry Sources of solutes Mazandaran Province Northern Iran 



Authors are thankful to Dr. B. Krishna Rao, Mysore for critical examination of the earlier version of the manuscript. First author is grateful to S. Khademy and F. Mahbobi, Mazandaran Regional Water Authority, Sara city, Iran for providing logistic support during field work and sample collection. Authors are grateful to the anonymous reviewers for providing the valuable suggestions for improving the quality and contents of the earlier manuscript. Authors are highly thankful to Dr. James W. LaMoreaux, Editor-in-Chief and his colleagues for the meticulous editorial work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Studies in Earth ScienceUniversity of MysoreMysoreIndia
  2. 2.Department of Earth Science and Resource Management, Yuvaraja’s CollegeUniversity of MysoreMysoreIndia
  3. 3.School of Earth SciencesDamghan UniversityDamghanIran

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