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First conceptual hydrogeological model of two intermountain Andean basins based on isotopes and hydrochemistry
Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies  (IF1.675),  Pub Date : 2021-04-05, DOI: 10.1080/10256016.2021.1905636
Nerina Belén Lana, Sandra Ibañez, Natalia Salvi, Daniel Cicerone, Marisol Manzano

ABSTRACT

Mountains arid environments are vulnerable under climate change scenarios. Variations in the recharge sources and the rising temperature can affect the water availability, threaten the socio-productive systems on local and regional scales. In this sense, two hydrological systems were studied in the Andes Range, Argentina, by hydrochemical and isotope techniques, with the purpose to understand the origin of water, the groundwater recharge, and to conceptualize the groundwater flow system. In the two sampling periods (winter and summer seasons) most of the waters were characterized by low mineralization and a HCO3-Ca type. The isotopic composition showed wide ranges of variation consistent with the altitudinal differences existing in the study systems. However, no significant isotope changes were observed between the samples collected in winter and summer periods. Therefore, little influence of liquid precipitation is inferred in the recharge source of both hydrological systems. This means that the western sector of the valley, where the ice bodies and permafrost are located, is the main recharge area for groundwater of both basins. This confirms the former hypothesis used for the hydrogeochemical conceptual model proposed, and highlights the importance of protecting these environments to ensure the provision of water in arid lands.