Karstbase Bibliography Database

Gilli, Eric
Deep speleological salt contamination in mediterranean karst aquifers: perspectives for water supply
Environmental Earth Sciences
2015
74
1
101
113

On the Mediterranean coast, submarine karst springs are common. Most of them are brackish and various unsuccessful attempts in France, Greece, and Italy indicate that it is impossible to diminish the salinity at the spring. Based on studies on the shores of south-eastern France and in Kefalonia (Greece), we propose a working model that explains the mechanism of salt contamination. During the Messinian Deep Stage (-5.9 to 5.3 Ma), a substantial sea-level lowering in the Mediterranean allowed the existence of cave networks extending several hundreds of meters below the present sea level. Seawater is now sucked into the system through these caves. This mechanism is supported by a study of the Port Miou underground river (Cassis, France). In the Port Miou cave system, which extends to 250 m below sea level, titanium and heavy metals are present in the sediment. They are similar to those found in the Cassidaigne submarine canyon, which reinforces the hypothesis of a connection between the cave and the canyon. Recent geological studies prove a Messinian origin for the canyon and support the deep contamination model. The model is also supported by examples on Kefalonia Island (Greece) and in the Toix–Moraig system (Spain) where salt-water intrusions are observed in coastal sinkholes and sea caves. This model explains why various attempts to diminish the salinity of these brackish springs, through the construction of dams to increase head, have failed.On the Mediterranean coast, submarine karst
springs are common. Most of them are brackish and various
unsuccessful attempts in France, Greece, and Italy
indicate that it is impossible to diminish the salinity at the
spring. Based on studies on the shores of south-eastern
France and in Kefalonia (Greece), we propose a working
model that explains the mechanism of salt contamination.
During the Messinian Deep Stage (-5.9 to 5.3 Ma), a
substantial sea-level lowering in the Mediterranean
allowed the existence of cave networks extending several
hundreds of meters below the present sea level. Seawater is
now sucked into the system through these caves. This
mechanism is supported by a study of the Port Miou
underground river (Cassis, France). In the Port Miou cave
system, which extends to 250 m below sea level, titanium
and heavy metals are present in the sediment. They are
similar to those found in the Cassidaigne submarine canyon,
which reinforces the hypothesis of a connection
between the cave and the canyon. Recent geological
studies prove a Messinian origin for the canyon and support
the deep contamination model. The model is also
supported by examples on Kefalonia Island (Greece) and in
the Toix–Moraig system (Spain) where salt-water intrusions
are observed in coastal sinkholes and sea caves. This
model explains why various attempts to diminish the
salinity of these brackish springs, through the construction
of dams to increase head, have failed.

Karst, Spring, Submarine canyon, Salinity, Titanium, Water supply.
1866-6280
10.1007/s12665-015-4042-2
Gilli, Eric , 2015, Deep speleological salt contamination in mediterranean karst aquifers: perspectives for water supply , Environmental Earth Sciences , 74 , 101 - 113 http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12665-015-4042-2, PDF