Environmental Earth Sciences

, 75:339 | Cite as

The use of hydrogeochemical analyses and multivariate statistics for the characterization of groundwater resources in a complex aquifer system. A case study in Amyros River basin, Thessaly, central Greece

  • Evangelos Tziritis
  • Konstantinos Skordas
  • Akindynos Kelepertsis
Original Article


The present study investigates the hydrogeochemical regime of a complex aquifer system in a highly cultivated area of Thessaly, central Greece. To do so, totally forty (40) groundwater samples were collected for three aquifer units with diverse geological and hydrogeological attributes and analyzed for 77 parameters. Data processing was accomplished with the joint use of classic hydrogeochemical techniques including major ion molar ratios and graphical interpretation, as well as multivariate statistical methods including R-mode factor (FA) and hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA). Results showed that major ion hydrogeochemistry is characterized by the prevalence of calcium (median = 81 mg/L) and bicarbonates (median = 308 mg/L) in the following descending order of concentrations for cations Ca2+>Mg2+>Na+>K+ and anions HCO3 >NO3 >SO4 2−>Cl, respectively. Nitrate values are elevated (median = 23 mg/L), especially in the porous quaternary aquifer, indicating the ongoing agricultural impact from the excessive use of nitrogen fertilizers and manure. The results of multivariate statistics highlighted four factors that chiefly control 81.4 % of overall hydrogeochemistry, related with both geogenic and anthropogenic impacts. The geogenic impact is mainly attributed to the geological substrate and secondarily to the ongoing geochemical (redox) conditions which in turn enrich or deplete groundwater solution with different ions; anthropogenic impact is mainly related with the extensive agricultural practices which favor nitrate enrichment and salinization due to irrigation water return flow.


Hydrogeochemistry Groundwater quality Major ion molar ratios Multivariate statistics Thessaly 


  1. Appelo, C.A.J. and Postma, D., (2005) 2nd ed: Geochemistry Groundwater and Pollution. A.A. Balkeema. Rotterdam, 634 pGoogle Scholar
  2. Chapagain S, Pandey V, Shrestha S, Nakamura S, Kazama F (2010) Assessment of deep groundwater quality in Kathmandu valley using multivariate statistical techniques. Water Air Soil Pollut 210:277–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chapelle FH (2001) Ground-water microbiology and geochemistry. John Wiley & Sons, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  4. Christensen TH, Bjerg PL, Banwart Sa, Jakobsen R, Heron G, Albrechtsen H-J (2000) Characterization of redox conditions in groundwater contaminant plumes. J Contam Hydrol 45(3–4):165–241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Datta PS, Tyagi SK (1996) Major ion chemistry of groundwater in Delhi area: chemical weathering processes and flow regime. J Geol Soc India 47:179–188Google Scholar
  6. Demetriades A (2010) General ground water geochemistry of Hellas using bottled water samples. J Geoch Explor 107:283–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Drever JI (1997) The geochemistry of natural waters, 3rd edn. Prentice Hall, New Jersey, p 436Google Scholar
  8. European Council (EC) (1991) Council Directive 91/676/EEC of 12 december 1991 concerning the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sourcesGoogle Scholar
  9. European Council (EC) (1998) Council Directive 98/83/EC of 3 november 1998 on the quality of water intended for human consumptionGoogle Scholar
  10. Fovell R, Fovell MY (1993) Climate zones of the conterminous United States defined using cluster analysis. J Climate 6(11):2103–2135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. García-Garizábal I, Causapé J (2010) Influence of irrigation water management on the quantity and quality of irrigation return flows. J Hydrol 385(1–4):36–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hounslow, A.W. (1995) Water quality data—analysis and interpretation. CRC Press LLC. p 85Google Scholar
  13. IGME (1981) Geological map of Platykampos (1:50,000). Department of Geological Maps of Institute of Geological and Metallurgical Exploration, AthensGoogle Scholar
  14. IGME (1984) Geological map of Ayia-Panagia (1:50,000). Department of Geological Maps of Institute of Geological and Metallurgical Exploration, AthensGoogle Scholar
  15. Ioffe D, Kampf A (2002) Bromine, organic compounds in Kirk-OthmerGoogle Scholar
  16. Kaiser HF (1960) The application of electronic computers to factor analysis. Educ Psychol Measur 20:141–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Katsikatos G, Migiros G, Vidakis M (1980) Remarks on the geology οf the area between Mavrovouni and Olympus (Greece). 26e Congres-Geologique Internationale, Paris, III, 1391 (Abstract)Google Scholar
  18. Katsikatos G, Migiros G, Vidakis M (1982) La structure geologique de la region de la Thessalie oriental (Grece). Ann. Soc. Geol. Nord, CI, pp 177–188Google Scholar
  19. Kelepertsis A (2000) Applied geochemistry. Macedonian Publications, GreeceGoogle Scholar
  20. Kelepertsis A, Alexakis D, Skordas K (2006) Arsenic, antimony and other toxic elements in the drinking water of Eastern Thessaly in Greece and its possible effects on human health. Environ Geol 50:76–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kelepertzis E (2014) Accumulation of heavy metals in agricultural soils of Mediterranean: insights from Argolida basin, Peloponnese. Greece. Geoderma 221–222(2014):82–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kim J, Kim R, Lee J, Chang H (2002) Hydrogeochemical characterization of major factors affecting the quality of shallow groundwater in the coastal area at Kimje in South Korea. Env Geol 44:478–489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Krawczyk WE, Ford DC (2007) Correlating specific conductivity with total hardness in gypsum karst waters. Earth Surf Proc Landforms 32(4):612–620CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Krishnaraj S, Murugesan V, Sabarathinam KV, Paluchamy C, Ramachandran A (2012) Use of hydrochemistry and stable isotopes as tools for groundwater evolution and contamination investigations. Geosciences 1(1):16–25Google Scholar
  25. Kumar M, Ramanathan Al, Rao MS, Kumar B (2006) Identification and evaluation of hydrogeochemical processes in the groundwater environment of Delhi, India. Environ Geol 50:1025–1039CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lang YC, Liu CQ, Zhao ZQ, Li SL, Han GL (2006) Geochemistry of surface and ground water in Guiyang, China: water/rocks interaction and pollution in a Karst hydrological system. Appl Geochem 21:887–903CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Liu CW, Lin KH, Kuo YM (2003) Application of factor analysis in the assessment of groundwater quality in a Blackfoot disease area in Taiwan. Sci Tot Env 313:77–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lokhande P, Patil V, Mujawar H (2008) Multivariate statistical analysis of ground water in the vicinity of Mahad industrial area of Konkan Region, India. Int J Appl Env Sci 3(2):149–163Google Scholar
  29. Mandel S, Shiftan ZL (1981) Groundwater resources: investigation and development. Academic Press, New York, p 269Google Scholar
  30. McLean W, Jankowski J, Lavitt N (2000) Groundwater quality and sustainability in an alluvial aquifer, Australia. In: Sililo O et al (eds) Groundwater, past achievements and future challenges. A Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 567–573Google Scholar
  31. Migiros G (1983) Geological investigation of the lower Olympous mountain region. PhD Thesis (in Greek), University of Patras, p.243Google Scholar
  32. Morgantini N, Frondini F, Cardellini C (2009) Natural trace elements baselines and dissolved loads in groundwater from carbonate aquifers in central Italy. Phys Chem Earth 34:520–529CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Negrel P (2006) Water-granite interaction: clues from strontium, neodymium and rare earth elements in soil and water. Appl Geochem 21:1432–1454CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Panda UC, Sundaray SK, Rath P, Nayak BB, Bhatta D (2006) Application of factor and cluster analysis for characterization of river and estuarine water systems—a case study: Mahanadi river (India). J Hydrol 331:434–445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Piper AM (1953) A graphic procedure in the geochemical interpretation of water analysis. Washington, United States Geological SurveyGoogle Scholar
  36. Purushothaman P, Rao M, Rawat YS, Kumar CP, Krishan G, Parveen T (2014) Evaluation of hydrogeochemistry and water quality in Bist-Doab region, Punjab, India. Env Earth Sci 72:693–706CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Reimann C, Filzmoser P, Garrett R, Dutter R (2008) Statistical data analysis explained: applied environmental statistics with. R. Wiley–Blackwell, ChichesterCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Robinson GR, Ayotte JD (2006) The influence of geology and land use on arsenic in stream sediments and ground waters in New England, U.S.A. Appl Geochem 21:1482–1497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Saleem M, Jeelani G, Shah RA (2015) Hydrogeochemistry of Dal Lake and the potential for present, future management by using facies, ionic ratios, and statistical analysis. Env Earth Sci 74:3301–3313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Siegel FR (2002) Environmental geochemistry of potentially toxic metals. Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Skordas K, Tziritis E, Kelepertsis A (2010) Groundwater quality of the hydrological basin of Amyros River, Agia area, Thessaly, Greece. Bulletin of the Geological Society of Greece, Patra, Proceedings of the 12th International Congress, p 1858–1867 May 2010Google Scholar
  42. Skordas K, Papastergios G, Tziantziou L, Neofitou N, Neofitou C (2013) Groundwater hydrogeochemistry of Trikala municipality, central Greece. Env Mon Assess 185(1):81–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Skordas K, Kelepertsis E, Kosmidis D, Panagiotaki P, Vafidis D (2014) Assessment of nutrients and heavy metals in the surface sediments of the artificially Lake water reservoir Karla, Thessaly, Greece. Environ Earth Sci 73:4483–4493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Srinivasamoorthy K, Vasanthavigar M, Vijayaraghavan K, Sarathidasan R, Gopinath S (2011) Hydrochemistry of groundwater in a coastal region of Cuddalore district, Tamilnadu, India: implication for quality assessment. Arab J Geosci 6:441–454CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Stamatis G Migiros G (2004) Relationship between fracture tectonics and aquifer of hard rock formations of Ossa (eastern Thessaly, Greece). Bulletin of the Geological Society of Greece vol. XXXVI, Proceedings of the 10th International Congress, Thessaloniki, (in Greek), p 2077–2086 April 2004Google Scholar
  46. Stamatis G, Voudouris K, Karefilakis F (2001) Groundwater pollution by heavy metals in historical mining area of Lavrio, Attica, Greece. Water Air Soil Poll 128:61–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Subramani T, Rajmohan N, Elango L (2010) Groundwater geochemistry and identification of hydrogeochemical processes in a hard rock region, Southern India. Env Mon Assess 162:123–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Tziritis E (2009a) Groundwater and soil geochemistry of Eastern Kopaida region, (Beotia, central Greece). Open Geosci 1(2):219–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Tziritis E (2009b) Groundwater and soil geochemistry of Eastern Kopaida region, (Beotia, central Greece). Cen Eur J Geosci 1(2):219–226Google Scholar
  50. Tziritis E (2010) Assessment of NO3-contamination in a karstic aquifer, with the use of geochemical data and spatial analysis. Env Earth Sci 60(7):1381–1390CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Tziritis E (2014) Environmental monitoring of Micro Prespa Lake basin (Western Macedonia, Greece): hydrogeochemical characteristics of water resources and quality trends. Env Mon Assess 186(7):4553–4568CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Tziritis E, Kelepertsis A, Fakinou G (2012) Geochemical status and interactions between soil and groundwater systems in the area of Akrefnio, Central Greece. Risk assessment, under the scope of mankind and natural environment. J Wat Land Dev 15:127–144Google Scholar
  53. Tziritis E, Arampatzis G, Hatzigiannakis E, Panoras G, Panoras A, Panagopoulos A (2015) Quality characteristics and hydrogeochemistry of irrigation waters from three major olive groves in Greece. Des Wat Treat. doi: 10.1080/19443994.2015.1057869 (in press) Google Scholar
  54. Voutsis N, Kelepertzis E, Tziritis E, Keleprtsis A (2015) Assessing the hydrogeochemistry of groundwaters in ophiolite areas of Euboea Island, Greece, using multivariate statistical methods. J Geoch Explor. doi: 10.1016/j.gexplo.2015.08.007 (in press) Google Scholar
  55. Yeomans K, Golder P (1982) The Guttman-Kaiser criterion as a predictor of the number of common factors. J R Stat Soc 31(3):221–229 Series D (The Statistician) Google Scholar
  56. Zagana E, Lemesios I, Charalambopoulos S, Katsanou K, Stamatis G, Lambrakis N (2010) Environmental-hydrogeological investigations on the clay deposits in the broad area of Mesologgi-Aitoliko lagoons. Bull Geol Soc Greece 43:1878–1885Google Scholar
  57. Zhang J, Huang WW, Letolle R, Jusserand C (1995) Major element chemistry of the Huanghe (Yellow River), China—weathering processes and chemical fluxes. J Hydrol 168:173–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Zhu GF, Li ZZ, Su YH, Ma JZ, Zhang YY (2007) Hydrogeochemical and isotope evidence of groundwater and recharge in Minqin Basin, Northwest China. J Hydrol 333:239–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evangelos Tziritis
    • 1
  • Konstantinos Skordas
    • 2
  • Akindynos Kelepertsis
    • 3
  1. 1.Soil and Water Resources InstituteHellenic Agricultural Organization “Demeter”SindosGreece
  2. 2.Department of Ichthyology and Aquatic Environment, School of Agricultural SciencesUniversity of ThessalyVolosGreece
  3. 3.Faculty of Geology and Geoenvironment, School of ScinceUniversity of AthensAthensGreece

Personalised recommendations