UIS Commission on Karst Hydrogeology and Speleogenesis
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Vigna, B.; Banzato, C.
The hydrogeology of high-mountain carbonate areas: an example of some alpine systems in southern piedmont (italy)
Environ Earth Sci

The hydrogeological characteristics of some springs supplied by high-mountain carbonate rock aquifers, located in the south of Piedmont, in Italy, are presented in this work. The aquifers have different geological-structural conditions, including both deep and superficial karstification. Their catchment areas are located in a typical Alpine context at a high altitude of about 2000 m. These aquifers are ideal representations of the different hydrogeological situations that can be encountered in the high-altitude carbonate aquifers of the Mediterranean basin. It is first shown how the high-altitude zones present typical situations, in particular related to the climate, which control the infiltration processes to a great extent. Snowfall accumulates on the ground from November to April, often reaching remarkable thicknesses. The snow usually begins to melt in spring and continues to feed the aquifer for several months. This type of recharge is characterized by continuous daily variations caused by the typical thermal excursions. The hourly values are somewhat modest, but snowmelt lasts for a long time, beginning in the lower sectors and ending, after various months, in the higher areas. Abundant rainfall also occurs in the same period, and this contributes further to the aquifer supply. In the summer period, there is very little rainfall, but frequent storms. In autumn, abundant rainfall occurs and there are there fore short but relevant recharge events. It has been shown how the trend of the yearly flow of the high mountain springs is influenced to a great extent by the snowmelt processes and autumn rainfall. It has also been shown, by means of the annual hydrographs of the flow and the electric conductivity of the spring water, how the different examined aquifers are characterized by very different measured value trends, according to the characteristics of the aquifer.


Aquifers in carbonate rock  Karst  Snowmelt processes  Springs  Hydrodynamics  Natural tracers
Vigna, B.; Banzato, C. , 2015, The hydrogeology of high-mountain carbonate areas: an example of some alpine systems in southern piedmont (italy) , Environmental Earth Science , 1 - 14 http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12665-015-4308-8