Coastal hydrogeological system of Mar Piccolo (Taranto, Italy)

Zuffiano L.E.; Basso A.; Casarano D.; Dragone V.; Limoni P.P.; Romanazzi A.; Santaloia F.; Polemio M., 2015, Coastal hydrogeological system of Mar Piccolo (Taranto, Italy), Environmental science and pollution research international (2015). doi_10.1007/s11356-015-4932-6,

The Mar Piccolo basin is an internal sea basin located along the Ionian coast (Southern Italy), and it is surrounded primarily by fractured carbonate karstic environment. Because of the karstic features, the main continental water inflow is from groundwater discharge. The Mar Piccolo basin represents a peculiar and sensitive environment and a social emergency because of sea water and sediments pollution. This pollution appears to be caused by the overlapping effects of dangerous anthropogenic activities, including heavy industries and commercial and navy dockyards. The paper aims to define the contribution of subaerial and submarine coastal springs to the hydrological dynamic equilibrium of this internal sea basin. A general approach was defined, including a hydrogeological basin border assessment to detect inflowing springs, detailed geological and hydrogeological conceptualisation, in situ submarine and subaerial spring measurements, and flow numerical modelling. Multiple sources of data were obtained to define a relevant geodatabase, and it contained information on approximately 2,000 wells, located in the study area (1,600 km2). The conceptualisation of the hydrogeological basin, which is 978 km2 wide, was supported by a 3D geological model that interpolated 716 stratigraphic logs. The variability in hydraulic conductivity was determined using hundreds of pumping tests. Five surveys were performed to acquire hydro-geochemical data and spring flow-yield measurements; the isotope groundwater age was assessed and used for model validation. The mean annual volume exchanged by the hydrogeological basin was assessed equal to 106.93 106 m3. The numerical modelling permitted an assessment of the mean monthly yield of each spring outflow (surveyed or not), travel time, and main path flow.

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