Wolfgang Wagner; Mebus A. Geyh:

Application of Environmental Isotope Methods for Groundwater Studies in the ESCWA Region (Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia)

Ed.: Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe; und Staatliche Geologische Dienste in der; Bundesrepublik Deutschland

2000. 1. edition, 129 pages, 54 figures, 4 tables, 17x24cm, 300 g
Language: English

(Geologisches Jahrbuch Reihe C, Band C 67)

ISBN 978-3-510-95855-9, paperback, price: 29.00 €

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hydrogeologyisotope methodsgroundwater


Synopsis top ↑

Numerous hydrological projects have been carried out using isotopic methods over the last two decades in the ESCWA region, which includes the Arabian Peninsula, the Arabian countries to the north, and Egypt. The large amount of data obtained from groundwater samples has been evaluated together with the hydrogeological, hydrochemical and water management data available for the area. Analyses of the stable isotopes of oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon in the groundwater samples, as well as the naturally occurring radioactive isotopes of hydrogen and carbon are used for the localization of groundwater recharge areas; determination and quantification of mixtures of groundwater from different sources; reconstruction of groundwater flow systems on regional and local scales; determination of the paleoclimatic effects on the geohydraulic conditions; determination of groundwater ages, i.e., residence times; and distinguishing between renewable and fossil groundwater resources. Extensive hydrological studies using isotopic methods have been conducted in the ESCWA region on the following aquifer systems and topics: isotopic composition of precipitation in Jordan and Syria; groundwater turnover in karst aquifers in the highlands of western Jordan, the mountains in western Syria and the West Bank; groundwater recharge from precipitation and surface water on the Damascus plain; origin and age of groundwater in the basalt aquifer system in Jordan and Syria; recently recharged freshwater lenses and fossil groundwater in Badiye and Hamad (steppe and desert regions in Syria and eastern Jordan and the adjacent areas in Iraq and Saudi Arabia); low of fossil groundwater and local, recently recharged groundwater in Paleogene carbonate aquifers in eastern Saudi Arabia, the Golf region, and southern Oman; groundwater recharge from flash floods in the aquifers in unconsolidated rock in wadis and coastal plains of the Arabian Peninsula; age and origin of groundwater in aquifers in consolidated rock in the mountains of Oman. The discussion of the hydrogeological significance of isotope data is supplemented by comments on the most important current hydrogeological problems in the ESCWA region that could be investigated using isotopic methods. These include problems of groundwater recharge, the provenance of groundwater, groundwater flow systems on regional and local scales, paleohydrological conditions, and groundwater quality, particularly contamination by human activities. All available publications on the isotope hydrology of the ESCWA region are listed in the bibliography, as well as basic publications on isotope hydrology in arid regions. (Isotope geochemistry, isotope ratios, stable isotopes, O16, O18, O18/O16, C14, radioactive isotopes, iritium, absolute age, atmospheric precipitation, groundwater, currents, groundwater provinces, groundwater quality, sampling, groundwater recharge, climate, paleoclimate, aquifer, sandstone, limestone, dolomite, volcanic rocks, quaternary aquifer, unconsolidated sediments Bahrain, Jemen, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Oman, United Arabic Emirates)

Contents top ↑

Foreword 10
1 Introduction 11
2 Principles of Isotope Hydrological Methods 15
2.1 Stable isotopes of Oxygen and Hydrogen 15
2.1.1 Physical Principles 15
2.1.2 Meteorological effects 16 Temperature effect 16 Amount effect 18
2.1.3 Hydrogeological application 18 Altitude of the recharge area 18 Mixtures of groundwater from different origin 19 Local and regional groundwater recharge (continental effect) 21 Paleoclimate effect 22
2.2 Stable carbon isotopes 23
2.2.1 Physical principles 23
2.2.2 Hydrogeologic application 23
2.3 Tritium 25
2.3.1 Physical principles 25
2.3.2 Hydrogeologic application 26
2.4 Radiocarbon 27
2.4.1 Radiocarbon dating of groundwater 27
2.4.2 Hydrogeologic application 29 Piston-flow model 29 Conceptional and numerical mass transport modelling 29 Groundwater with discontinuous recharge 29
2.5 Methodical and technological developments 30
3 Isotope Studies of Groundwater in ESCWA Countries 31
3.1 Hydrogeologic and climatic background 31
3.1.1 Regional hydrologic features 31
3.1.2 Isotopic composition of precipitation in the ESCWA region 33
3.2 Northwestern ESCWA region 35
3.2.1 Climatic and Hydrogeologic features 35
3.2.2 Stable isotope composition of precipitation in Jordan and Syria 35
3.2.3 Western mountain and highland areas 37
3.2.4 Damascus plain 42
3.2.5 Basalt aquifer system in Jordan and Syria 43
3.2.6 Yarmouk and upper Jordan River basin, northwestern Jordan 49
3.2.7 West Bank 52
3.2.8 Lebanon 53
Northwestern Saudi Arabia 54
3.3.1 Central Syria and the Hamad 54
3.3.2 Aleppo plateau and northern Syrian steppe 59
3.3.3 Southern Jordan and northwestern Saudi Arabia 62
3.4 Eastern province of Saudi Arabia and Gulf area 64
3.4.1 Hydrogeologic features of the Gulf Basin 64
3.4.2 Kuwait 66
3.4.3 Eastern province of Saudi Arabia 67
3.4.4 Bahrain 74
3.4.5 Qatar 75
3.5 The Arabian Shield and adjoining Areas 81
3.5.1 Western Saudi Arabia 81
3.5.2 Tuwayq Mountains 82
3.5.3 Yemen 86
3.6 Oman and United Arab Emirates 88

3.6.1 Hydrogeologic features 88
3.6.2 United Arab Emirates and northern Oman 91

3.6.3 Southern Oman 94
4 Groundwater Problems and Isotope Techniques 97
4.1 General aspects 97
4.2 Investigation of Hydrogeological Processes with Isotope Techniques 97
4.2.1 Groundwater recharge 97
4.2.2 Origin of groundwater and regional groundwater flow 99
4.2.3 Groundwater quality 100
4.2.4 Paleobydrologic conditions 101
4.2.5 Anthropogenic impacts 102
4.3 Planning of and sampling for isotope hydrologic investigations 103
4.3.1 Planning for isotope investigations 103
4.3.2 Sampling for isotope analyses 104
4.3.3 Sampling for 14C analysis 105
4.3.4 Information on the sampling site 108
5 Abbreviations, Symbols, Glossary 109
6 Bibliography 112
6.1 Textbooks and IAEA Proceedings on isotope hydrology 112
6.2 References related to the text 113
6.3 Isotope hydrological studies in Egypt 123
6.4 Isotope hydrological studies of mineralised water and
with special isotopes 127
6.4.1 Alkaline water 127
6.4.2 Sulfur isotope studies 128
6.4.3 Advanced techniques (uranium series isotopes,
boron isotopes, rare gases) 128