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Title: Assessment of age, origin, and sustainability of fossil aquifers: A geochemical and remote sensing-based approach

Abstract

An integrated approach was developed to assess the sustainability, origin, age, evolution, and groundwater potential of large fossil aquifers using the Mega Aquifer System (MAS) (area: 2 x 10(6) km(2)) in the Arabian Peninsula as a test site. A two-step exercise was adopted, the sustainability of the MAS was first investigated through the analysis of GRACE data and land surface model (LSM) outputs. Then, integrated geochemical, remote sensing, and field studies were conducted to address the age, origin, hydrogeological setting, and evolution of the southern sections of the MAS (Rub Al Khali Aquifer System (RAKAS)), the area identified from the analysis of GRACE and ISMs as being the most suited for sustainable development. Analysis of GRACE and ISMs revealed: (1) the MAS central and northern sections are experiencing high groundwater extraction (6.6 km(3)/yr) and depletion rates (-2.8 +/- 0.8 km(3)/yr) with minimum balancing potential through aquifer capture processes, yet sustainability could be achieved by reducing annual extraction by 2.8 km(3), and (2) the MAS southern sections (Rub Al Khali Aquifer System (RAKAS)) are experiencing low groundwater depletion rates (eastern RAKAS: -1.8 +/- 1.4 mm/yr) to steady-state conditions (western RAKAS: -0.73 +/- 1.4 mm/yr). Geochemical, remote sensing, and field investigations overmore » the RAKAS revealed: (1) the presence of west to east trending drainage networks and large-scale groundwater flow systems consistent with a meteoric source (precipitation over Red Sea Hills); (2) increasing Cl-36 model ages along groundwater flow directions (up to 970,000 years), indicating aquifer recharge in wet Pleistocene periods; (3) progressive depletion in the O and H stable isotopic compositions of aquifers with increasing distance from the Red Sea Hills basement outcrops, indicating modest recharge during prevailing dry conditions; and (4) the presence of relatively fresh (TDS: 800-2800 mg/L) and nonradioactive (Ra-226 + Ra-228 < 0.185 Bq/kg) water in western RAKAS. Findings suggest that sustainable agricultural development is achievable at current extraction rates in western RAKAS and provide a replicable and cost-effective model.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA)
OSTI Identifier:
1573365
DOE Contract Number:  
AC02-06CH11357
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Journal of Hydrology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 576
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
Fossil aquifers; GRACE; Geochemistry; Remote sensing; Saudi Arabia; Sustainable utilization

Citation Formats

Sultana, Mohamed, Sturchio, Neil C., Alsefry, Saleh, Emil, Mustafa K., Ahmed, Muhamed, Abdelmohsen, Karem, AbuAbdullah, Mazen M., Yan, Eugene, Save, Himanshu, and Alharbi, Talal. Assessment of age, origin, and sustainability of fossil aquifers: A geochemical and remote sensing-based approach. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2019.06.017.
Sultana, Mohamed, Sturchio, Neil C., Alsefry, Saleh, Emil, Mustafa K., Ahmed, Muhamed, Abdelmohsen, Karem, AbuAbdullah, Mazen M., Yan, Eugene, Save, Himanshu, & Alharbi, Talal. Assessment of age, origin, and sustainability of fossil aquifers: A geochemical and remote sensing-based approach. United States. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2019.06.017.
Sultana, Mohamed, Sturchio, Neil C., Alsefry, Saleh, Emil, Mustafa K., Ahmed, Muhamed, Abdelmohsen, Karem, AbuAbdullah, Mazen M., Yan, Eugene, Save, Himanshu, and Alharbi, Talal. Sun . "Assessment of age, origin, and sustainability of fossil aquifers: A geochemical and remote sensing-based approach". United States. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2019.06.017.
@article{osti_1573365,
title = {Assessment of age, origin, and sustainability of fossil aquifers: A geochemical and remote sensing-based approach},
author = {Sultana, Mohamed and Sturchio, Neil C. and Alsefry, Saleh and Emil, Mustafa K. and Ahmed, Muhamed and Abdelmohsen, Karem and AbuAbdullah, Mazen M. and Yan, Eugene and Save, Himanshu and Alharbi, Talal},
abstractNote = {An integrated approach was developed to assess the sustainability, origin, age, evolution, and groundwater potential of large fossil aquifers using the Mega Aquifer System (MAS) (area: 2 x 10(6) km(2)) in the Arabian Peninsula as a test site. A two-step exercise was adopted, the sustainability of the MAS was first investigated through the analysis of GRACE data and land surface model (LSM) outputs. Then, integrated geochemical, remote sensing, and field studies were conducted to address the age, origin, hydrogeological setting, and evolution of the southern sections of the MAS (Rub Al Khali Aquifer System (RAKAS)), the area identified from the analysis of GRACE and ISMs as being the most suited for sustainable development. Analysis of GRACE and ISMs revealed: (1) the MAS central and northern sections are experiencing high groundwater extraction (6.6 km(3)/yr) and depletion rates (-2.8 +/- 0.8 km(3)/yr) with minimum balancing potential through aquifer capture processes, yet sustainability could be achieved by reducing annual extraction by 2.8 km(3), and (2) the MAS southern sections (Rub Al Khali Aquifer System (RAKAS)) are experiencing low groundwater depletion rates (eastern RAKAS: -1.8 +/- 1.4 mm/yr) to steady-state conditions (western RAKAS: -0.73 +/- 1.4 mm/yr). Geochemical, remote sensing, and field investigations over the RAKAS revealed: (1) the presence of west to east trending drainage networks and large-scale groundwater flow systems consistent with a meteoric source (precipitation over Red Sea Hills); (2) increasing Cl-36 model ages along groundwater flow directions (up to 970,000 years), indicating aquifer recharge in wet Pleistocene periods; (3) progressive depletion in the O and H stable isotopic compositions of aquifers with increasing distance from the Red Sea Hills basement outcrops, indicating modest recharge during prevailing dry conditions; and (4) the presence of relatively fresh (TDS: 800-2800 mg/L) and nonradioactive (Ra-226 + Ra-228 < 0.185 Bq/kg) water in western RAKAS. Findings suggest that sustainable agricultural development is achievable at current extraction rates in western RAKAS and provide a replicable and cost-effective model.},
doi = {10.1016/j.jhydrol.2019.06.017},
journal = {Journal of Hydrology},
number = ,
volume = 576,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {9}
}