Groundwater Temperature as an Indicator of the Vulnerability of Karst Coastal Aquifers
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Coastal karst aquifers show a three-dimensional vulnerability, which consists of the whole of the “intrinsic vulnerability” and the “groundwater vulnerability to seawater intrusion”. The results of a study carried out in the Salento karst coastal aquifer (southern Italy) show that temperature, as well as being a reliable tracer of groundwater flow, is also an effective indicator of vulnerability in anisotropic media. The trend of isotherms related to a cross-section of the aquifer thermal field, combined with geological, geomorphological, and hydrogeological information, allows the role of faults and dolines in the mass transport from ground surface to be inferred. Isotherm trends may also give information on the permeability distribution along faults. A specific temperature value evidence the saltwater top, thus indicating the groundwater vulnerability to salinization.
karst coastal aquifer