UIS Commission on Karst Hydrogeology and Speleogenesis
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El-Hakim M;Bakalowicz M;
Significance and origin of very large regulating power of some karst aquifers in the middle east. Implication on karst aquifer classification
Journal of Hydrology
SummaryKarst aquifers are the main groundwater resource in Lebanon as well as in most Mediterranean countries. Most of them are not exploited in a sustainable way, partly because their characteristics remain unknown. Karst aquifers are so complex that the assessment of their resource and their exploitable storage requires an analysis of their whole functioning, particularly by analysing the spring hydrograph. Among all various methods, the method proposed by Mangin aims to characterize at the same time the recharge conditions and the storage and recession of the saturated zone by analyzing the spring hydrograph. This method defines two parameters, the infiltration delay i, and the regulating power k which are the roots of a classification of karst systems. This classification makes the distinction between karst and porous aquifers considering the value of the regulating power. k is assumed to be lower than 0.5 in karst, and between 0.5 and 1 for all other aquifers, 1 being the upper limit.The study of karst aquifers in Lebanon shows values of k > 0.5, and even 1; former data from the literature show that other karst springs in Middle East have comparable characteristics. In fact, what is not considered by Mangin and others, k is equivalent to a mean residence time in years of water in the saturated zone. So long residence times are normally observed in poorly karstified aquifers, or containing abandoned, not functioning karstification. The geological framework in which the studied springs are located in fact shows that these aquifers have been subject to a long, complex evolution, as a consequence of the base level rising. This rising produced the flooding of the successive karst drainage network, which does not really function anymore and provides a large storage capacity to the aquifer. The very interesting properties of these aquifers make them prime targets for fulfilling the increasing needs of water
AQUIFER;AQUIFERS;assessment;CAPACITY;classification;COMPLEX;drainage;drainage network;EVEN;EVOLUTION;flooding;FRAMEWORK;function;GROUNDWATER;groundwater resource;hydrograph;INFILTRATION;K;karst;karst aquifer;KARST AQUIFERS;karst spring;karst springs;karst system;KARST SYSTEMS;KARSTIFICATION;Lebanon;LEVEL;mean residence time;MEDITERRANEAN;MIDDLE;Middle East;ORIGIN;PARAMETERS;POWER;RECESSION;recharge;RESIDENCE TIME;RESIDENCE TIMES;ROOT;ROOTS;saturated zone;spring;Spring hydrograph;SPRINGS;storage;SYSTEM;SYSTEMS;TIME;TIMES;VALUES;WATER;ZONE;