Istituto di Geoscienze e Georisorse     
Rango T., Petrini R., Stenni B., Bianchini G., Slejko F., Beccaluva L., Ayenew T. The dynamics of central Main Ethiopian Rift waters: Evidence from δD, δ18O and 87Sr/86Sr ratios. In: Applied Geochemistry, vol. 25 (12) pp. 1860 - 1871. Elsevier, 2010.
Water samples from cold and geothermal boreholes, hot springs, lakes and rivers were analyzed for δD, δ18O and 87Sr/86Sr compositions in order to investigate lake water-groundwater mixing processes, water-rock interactions, and to evaluate groundwater flow paths in the central Main Ethiopian Rift (MER) of the Ziway-Shala basin. Different ranges of isotopic values were recorded for different water types: hot springs show δ18O −3.36 to +3.69 and δD −15.85 to +24.23, deep Aluto-Langano geothermal wells show δ18O −4.65 to −1.24 and δD −12.39 to −9.31, groundwater wells show δ18O −3.99 to +5.14 and δD −19.69 to +32.27, whereas the lakes show δ18O and δD in the range +3.98 to +7.92 and +26.19 to +45.71, respectively. The intersection of the Local Meteoric Water Line (LMWL: δD = 7 δ18O + 11.2, R2 = 0.94, n = 42) and the Local Evaporation Line (LEL: δD = 5.63δ18O + 8, n = 14, R2 = 0.82) was used to estimate the average isotopic composition of recharge water into the basin (δD = −5.15 and δ18O = −2.34). These values are depleted if compared with the modern-day average precipitation, presumably indicating paleo-groundwater components recharged during previous humid climatic phases. The measured stable isotope values indicate that the geothermal wells, some of the hot springs and groundwater wells mainly consist of meteoric water. The Sr isotopic signatures in all waters are within the range of the Sr isotopic composition of the rift basalts and rhyolites. The variability of Sr isotopic data also pinpoints complex water-rock interaction and mixing processes in groundwater and surface water. The 87Sr/86Sr ratio ranges from 0.70445 to 0.70756 in the hot springs, from 0.70426 to 0.70537 in two deep geothermal wells, and from 0.70673 to 0.70721 in the rift lakes Ziway, Langano, Shala and Awasa. The radiogenic composition recorded by the lakes indicates that the input water was predominantly affected by progressive interaction with rhyolitic volcanics and lacustrine sediments. There is a change in MER water composition between the recharge-infiltration zone (surrounding highlands) and the discharge areas, from depleted δD, δ18O and less radiogenic Sr isotope compositions to enriched δD, δ18O and more radiogenic Sr isotope compositions. Isotope analyses are therefore useful in providing further understanding of the hydrologeological processes occurring within a productive aquifer and the surface water system.
URL: http://https://www.journals.elsevier.com/applied-geochemistry/
Subject Ethiopia
central rift
waters dynamics
isotopic chemistry

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