Moisture source in the Hyblean mountains region (south-eastern Sicily,Italy):Evidence from stable isotopes signature

Mariano Valenza, Fausto Grassa, Rocco Favara

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12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Here the authors present results of an isotope study on precipitation collected during a 2-a period from a rain-gauge network consisting of 6 stations located at different elevations in the Hyblean Mountains (HM) region, in south-eastern Sicily. The slope of the local meteoric water line (δD = 6.50 δ18O + 9.87) obtained for the region suggests that precipitation is affected by evaporation during rainfall events. The main variations in rainwater isotope composition are due to seasonal effects and elevation. An average 2H excess value of +21.2‰ was found for precipitation events less affected by evaporation (i.e. when the rainfall was >65 mm/month). The spatial distribution of O isotope composition of precipitation shows a negative gradient from east and south to the inner areas. The depositional rate of Cl, used as a tracer of the origin of air masses, is highest at the coastal rain-gauges (SR and MRG stations) and lowest on the northern flank of the HM region (SC station). Based on these findings, a model is proposed for the origin of precipitation in the HM region, which assumes that a Mediterranean-derived component is the main source of moisture in the studied area. D/H and 18O/16O ratios of inferred meteoric recharge waters were also compared with the isotope composition of waters collected from the main local springs and wells. The best linear fit of the δ18O vs δD relationship for Hyblean groundwater is δD = 4.85 δ18O–2.01. The enrichment of heavy isotopes in Hyblean groundwater is probably due to evaporation occurring after precipitation events or to a recharging contribution from surface waters (lakes or rivers) enriched in heavy isotopes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2082-2095
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Geochemistry
Volume21
Publication statusPublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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