Stratigraphic and structural controls on groundwater flow in an outcropping fossil fan delta: the case of Sant Llorenc del Munt range (NE Spain)

Resumen:
Hydrogeological models of mountain regions present the opportunity to understand the role of geological factors on groundwater resources. The effects of sedimentary facies and fracture distribution on groundwater flow and resource exploitation are studied in the ancient fan delta of Sant Lloren double dagger de Munt (central Catalonia, Spain) by integrating geological field observations (using sequence stratigraphy methods) and hydrogeological data (pumping tests, hydrochemistry and environmental isotopes). A comprehensive analysis of data portrays the massif as a single unit, constituted by different compartments determined by specific layers and sets of fractures. Two distinct flow systems-local and regional-are identified based on pumping test analysis as well as hydrochemical and isotopic data. Drawdown curves derived from pumping tests indicate that the behavior of the saturated layers, whose main porosity is given by the fracture network, corresponds to a confined aquifer. Pumping tests also reflect a double porosity within the system and the occurrence of impervious boundaries that support a compartmentalized model for the whole aquifer system. Hydrochemical data and associated spatial evolution show the result of water-rock interaction along the flow lines. Concentration of magnesium, derived from dolomite dissolution, is a tracer of the flow-path along distinct stratigraphic units. Water stable isotopes indicate that evaporation (near a 5% loss) occurs in a thick unsaturated zone within the massif before infiltration reaches the water table. The hydrogeological analysis of this outcropping system provides a methodology for the conceptualization of groundwater flow in similar buried systems where logging and hydrogeological information are scarce.

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