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Grand Staircase – Escalante Nat’l Monument, Utah

Nel caso di successioni litologiche


caratterizzate dalla dominanza di
litotipi a bassa permeabilità, si può
notare un copioso ruscellamento
superficiale, nel corso di eventi
piovosi, testimoniato anche da
evidenti incisioni morfologiche

Grand Staircase – Escalante Nat’l Monument, Utah

Tali caratteri mostrano una scarsa ricettività del


mezzo geologico e, quindi, una trascurabile
circolazione idrica sotterranea
Grand Canyon Nat’l Park, North Rim, Arizona
L’esistenza di litotipi a bassa permeabilità in
una successione dotata di marcata eterogeneità
stratificata, può generare, nel caso di spessori
complessivi di migliaia di metri, la formazione di
più falde sovrapposte, con emergenze a più
altezze

Nell’ambito di una siffatta successione,


sussistono ingenti spessori insaturi, intervallati
alle componenti sature

Grand Canyon Nat’l Park, North Rim, Arizona

Hill & Polyak, 2010, J Hydrol


Cosa accade quando le successioni eterogenee sono interamente sature?
Sistemi omogenei ed isotropi

Recapito Alimentazione

Hubbert, 1940

A: Carichi decrescenti Componente verticale del flusso verso il basso

R: Carichi crescenti Componente verticale del flusso verso l’alto


Sistemi omogenei ed isotropi

Pendio

Atkinson, 1997
Sistemi eterogenei a doppio strato

Recapito Alimentazione

Freeze & Witherspoon, 1967

Il reticolo di flusso è sostanzialmente analogo a quello di un sistema omogeneo

Freeze & Witherspoon, 1967


Sistemi eterogenei a doppio strato

Recapito Alimentazione

Freeze & Witherspoon, 1967

Freeze & Witherspoon, 1967

Le linee di flusso all’interno dell’orizzonte meno permeabile intercettano obliquamente


l’interfaccia con quello più permeabile e vengono rifratte
Sistemi eterogenei a triplo strato

Recapito Alimentazione Recapito

Cedergren, 1989

Freeze & Witherspoon, 1967

Le linee di flusso intercettano obliquamente l’interfaccia e vengono rifratte


Sistemi eterogenei a doppio strato

K1

K2
K1 < K2

La variazione dei carichi idraulici non è uniforme lungo la verticale e subisce un cambiamento
netto in corrispondenza dell’interfaccia tra i due orizzonti a diversa conducibilità idraulica
Rifrazione delle linee di flusso

Fetter, 2001
K1
K2
K1 < K2

Il profilo piezometrico corrisponde ad una linea di flusso


Sistemi eterogenei multistrato

Recapito Alimentazione

Freeze & Witherspoon, 1967

Si osserva rifrazione delle linee di flusso lungo le interfacce tra orizzonti a differente
conducibilità idraulica

Poiché la zona alimentatrice giace sotto l’orizzonte semipermeabile, le linee di flusso


all’interno di quest’ultimo tendono a descrivere una risalita della falda

La variazione del carico idraulico è disuniforme lungo la verticale


Sistemi eterogenei multistrato

K1
K1 > K2

K2

K1

Si osserva rifrazione delle linee di flusso lungo le interfacce tra orizzonti a differente
conducibilità idraulica

Poiché la zona alimentatrice giace sopra l’orizzonte semipermeabile, le linee di flusso


all’interno di quest’ultimo hanno una componente verticale verso il basso

La variazione del carico idraulico è disuniforme lungo la verticale


Come si traduce, quanto osservato,
in termini di funzionamento idrogeologico di acquiferi fluvio – lacustri?

(esempi con disegni)


Sistemi eterogenei multistrato

Nella parte di monte, i carichi idraulici descrivono, lungo la verticale, un minimo all’interno
dell’orizzonte a maggiore conducibilità idraulica (funzione drenante)

Nella parte di valle, i carichi idraulici descrivono, lungo la verticale, un massimo all’interno
dell’orizzonte a maggiore conducibilità idraulica (funzione alimentante)
Sistemi eterogenei complessi

Eaton & Bradbury, 2003, Geophys Res Lett


K1 > K2 > K3
Calcari prevalenti (K1)

Marne, dolomie, calcari e argille (K2)


Orizzonte semipermeabile
Argille prevalenti (K3)

Calcari prevalenti (K1)


Sistemi eterogenei complessi

Carico idraulico osservato Eaton & Bradbury, 2003, Geophys Res Lett
Carico idraulico pre-emungimento nell’acquifero profondo

Il carico idraulico varia lungo la verticale, descrivendo un progressivo decremento verso la


componente più permeabile dell’orizzonte semipermeabile
Sistemi eterogenei complessi

Petrella et al, 2018, Geofluids


Sistemi eterogenei complessi

Petrella et al, 2018, Geofluids


Hydraulic head
Figure 7. Hydraulic head variations
variations in
in piezometer
piezometer S4
S4 (blue
(blue dots) vs. daily
daily rainfall
rainfall (light
(light blue
blue bars).
bars).
Dates given
are2020,
Appl. Sci. 10, xinFOR
day/month/year
PEER REVIEW format.
day/month/year format. Sistemi eterogenei complessi 11 of 24

Based on the hydrogeological monitoring and survey results, the general groundwater flow
scheme in the area was reconstructed (Figure 8a). The groundwater flows from the highlands towards
the topographic depressions, with the hydraulic gradient ranging from ∼30% to ∼3%, respectively.
The lowest head was consistently measured within the eastern depression, in the area of piezometers
S3–S5, and no significant modifications of the groundwater flow net were observed over time, during
the observation period. Therefore, all the piezometers used to analyse the isotopic signature from a
hydrogeological perspective maintained the same hydraulic relationships throughout the year. This
finding implies that all the results discussed in the isotopic section were not influenced at all by
modifications of the groundwater flow field.
In light of the sedimentological features and common lateral inhomogeneity of the evaporitic
layers (Figure 3), simple expected hydrogeological and hydrochemical behaviors are difficult to
define for the sequence that outcrops at the key site of the C5 cluster. In fact, the RNZ layer, which
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10, x FOR PEER REVIEW 8 of 24
overlies the second cycle gypsum evaporitic bodies, is composed of a very chaotic sandy-clayey Appl. Sci. 2020, 10, 8177 8 of 24

deposits, including dispersed gypsum blocks; consequently, a moderate primary permeability is


expected, despite the high clay content. In addition, the first cycle evaporitic layers and the basal
Tortonian clays are expected to be characterised by high and low permeability, respectively, whereas
the role of the second cycle gypsum bodies, which are to be classified as permeable on a small scale,
could be strongly controlled, overall, by the lack of lateral continuity, resulting in very slow hydraulic
circuits.

Figure 6. Cluster C5: stratigraphy, screened intervals, and water levels in December 2019.
Figure 6. Cluster C5:
DPS-anthropogenic stratigraphy,
fillings, alluvial screened
deposits, intervals,
and talus and water levels
(Quaternary); in December 2019.
RNZ-siliciclastic DPS-
sediments
anthropogenic
with fillings,
high organic matter alluvial
content, deposits,
Arenazzoloand
Fm.talus (Quaternary);
(Messinian); GPQ1RNZ-siliciclastic sediments with
and GPQ2-gypsum-arenites and
high organic
limestones andmatter
carbonatecontent, Arenazzolo
arenites, Fm.
Pasquasia Fm.(Messinian); GPQ1 and GPQ2-gypsum-arenites and
(Messinian).
limestones and carbonate arenites, Pasquasia Fm. (Messinian).
3.2. Isotopic Investigations
8. (a)8.Hydrogeological
FigureFigure map
(a) Hydrogeological mapofofthe
thestudy
studyarea
area (December 2019);(b)(b)
(December 2019); relationship
relationship between
between the the
3.2. Isotopic Investigations
Groundwater samples for stable isotope ( 18/16 O and 2/1 H) and tritium (3 H) analyses were
hydraulic headhead
hydraulic and and
the the
depth below
depth ground
below groundobserved
observed at
at the C5cluster.
the C5 cluster. collected four times samples
Groundwater (January, for
June, September
stable isotopeand December
(δ18/16 O and 2019),
δ2/1H) together with(the
and tritium 3H) hydraulic
analyses head
were
measurements. During
collected four times the same
(January, June,observation period,
September and rainwater
December samples
2019), for
together (18/16
with theO), (2/1 H) head
hydraulic and
Rizzo at al, 2020,
As observed Applied
at the C5 Sciences
cluster, the hydraulic head significantly varied with depth (Figure 8b). tritium
In analyses During
measurements. were collected
the samemonthly (depending
observation onrainwater
period, the amount of precipitation)
samples for δ( O), from
δ( one
H) rain
and 18/16 2/1

sampler installedwere
tritium analyses at thecollected
test sitemonthly
(Figure 4). The rainfall
(depending wasamount
on the collectedof using ten-liter from
precipitation) polyethylene
one rain
greater detail, it progressively decreased with increasing depth, showing the highest head in the
bottles containing
sampler installedabout
at the300
testmL of (Figure
site Vaseline4).
oil The
to prevent
rainfallevaporation. Oil using
was collected contamination
ten-liter was carefully
polyethylene
shallow system and the lowest one into the piezometer C5c, screened within a gypsum horizon. The
avoided by syringing
bottles containing the water
about 300 mL samples out of oil
of Vaseline the to
bottles. All evaporation.
prevent the samples were transported to was
Oil contamination the
laboratory
head zonation was confirmed based on the seasonal groundwater oscillation, with coherent hydraulic in a refrigerated
carefully avoided box.the water samples out of the bottles. All the samples were transported
by syringing
Petrella et al. [16] within the peninsular Southern Italy, where the more transmissive and
discontinuous localised media drain the surrounding lower permeability rocks up-gradient (lower
hydraulic head), whereas they are characterised by higher head down-gradient and feed the
Sistemi eterogenei complessi
surrounding lower permeability media (Figure 12). Because the vertical heterogeneity is
discontinuous, it is unable to provide a continuous solution within the stratigraphic sequence over
an extended area. Therefore, in contrast with other systems characterised by vertical heterogeneity,
from the hydraulic point of view [64,88–90], no perched aquifers overlie deeper ones, and a unique
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10, 8177 16 of 24
saturated zone can be assumed.

Figure Conceptual
12. Conceptual
Figure 12. hydrogeological
hydrogeological sketchsketch of heterogeneous
of heterogeneous media characterised
media characterised by
by evaporite-
evaporite-bearing
bearing successions. successions.
The blue lens The is blue lens is a discontinuous
a discontinuous evaporitic
evaporitic layer immersedlayer
in aimmersed in a
clay sequence
clay sequence
(grey). (grey).lines
Blue dashed Blueare
dashed lines are thelines.
the equipotential equipotential lines.
Blue arrows areBlue arrows are theflow
the groundwater groundwater
lines. The
flow
C5a-clines. TheisC5a-c
cluster cluster The
also shown. is also shown.K1
symbols The
andsymbols
K2 are K1
the and K2 areconductivities
hydraulic the hydraulic conductivities of
of the evaporitic
the
lensevaporitic lens and clay
and clay sequence, sequence, respectively.
respectively.

Rizzo
The at isotopes
stable al, 2020, Appliedthe
confirmed Sciences
local origin of the groundwater. However, as indicated above,
the isotopic features of the samples coming from C5a-c cluster are unusual for groundwaters, and may
be due to the phenomena discussed hereafter. Based on data reported by [91] for partitioning between
liquid and gaseous water and by Galley et al. [92] for gaseous water and H2 S gas, the following
approximate value for the fractionation factor of H2 O liquid vs. H2 S gas at 21 C is obtained:

2/1
2/1 H2 O + 1
↵ H2 O H2 S = 2/1
= 2.587 at 21 C (2)
Unità idrogeologica della
Piana del Sele (carta delle
isopiezometriche della falda
superficiale)
Unità idrogeologica della
Piana del Sele (carta delle
isopiezometriche della falda
profonda (in blu) e della falda
superficiale (in rosso)