|Groundwater chemistry patterns in the phreatic aquifer of the central Belgian coastal plain|
|Vandenbohede, A.; Lebbe, L. (2012). Groundwater chemistry patterns in the phreatic aquifer of the central Belgian coastal plain. Appl. Geochem. 27(1): 22-36. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeochem.2011.08.012|
|In: Applied Geochemistry. Pergamon: Oxford. ISSN 0883-2927, more|
Aquifers; Coastal plains; Groundwater; Belgium, Belgian Coast [gazetteer]; Marine; Brackish water; Fresh water
The Holocene geological evolution of the Belgian coastal plain is dominated by a transgression of the North Sea, silting up of the coastal plain and human intervention (impoldering). This has led to a typical pattern in groundwater quality which is discussed here for the central part of the coastal plain. Therefore, a database with available groundwater samples is composed. Water type according to the Stuyfzand classification is determined and different hydrosomes and their hydrochemical facies are identified. Based on this, the origin and evolution of the water types is explained using Piper plots and geochemical calculations with PHREEQC. Before the impoldering, salinising and freshening conditions alternated with a general salinisation of the aquifer after about 3400 BP. This results in a dominance of brackish and salt NaCl subtypes which are still found in the deeper part of the aquifer. The subsequent impoldering resulted in an major freshening of the aquifer leading to NaHCO3, MgHCO3 and CaHCO3 subtypes. Overall, mixing, cation exchange, carbonate mineral dissolution and oxidation of organic matter are identified as the major processes determining the general water quality. The close link between geological evolution, water quality and what is still observable today is illustrated with this example of the Belgian coastal plain.