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Geochemical characterization of surface waters and groundwater resources in the Managua area (Nicaragua, Central America)

  • Autori: Parello, F.; Aiuppa, A.; Calderon, H.; Calvi, F.; Cellura, D.; Martinez, V.; Militello, M.; Vammen, K.; Vinti, D.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2008
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • Parole Chiave: groundwater chemistry
  • OA Link:


This paper reports new geochemical data on dissolved major and minor constituents in surface waters and ground waters collected in the Managua region (Nicaragua), and provides a preliminary characterization of the hydrogeochemical processes governing the natural water evolution in this area. The peculiar geological features of the study site, an active tectonic region (Nicaragua Depression) characterized by active volcanism and thermalism, combined with significant anthropogenic pressure, contribute to a complex evolution of water chemistry, which results from the simultaneous action of several geochemical processes such as evaporation, rock leaching, mixing with saline brines of natural or anthropogenic origin. The effect of active thermalism on both surface waters (e.g., saline volcanic lakes) and groundwaters, as a result of mixing with variable proportions of hyper-saline geothermal Na–Cl brines (e.g., Momotombo geothermal plant), accounts for the high salinities and high concentrations of many environmentally-relevant trace elements (As, B, Fe and Mn) in the waters. At the same time the active extensional tectonics of the Managua area favour the interaction with acidic, reduced thermal fluids, followed by extensive leaching of the host rock and the groundwater release of toxic metals (e.g., Ni, Cu). The significant pollution in the area, deriving principally from urban and industrial waste-water, probably also contributes to the aquatic cycling of many trace elements, which attain concentrations above the WHO recommended limits for the elements Ni (not, vert, similar (40 μg/l) and Cu (not, vert, similar (10 μg/l) limiting the potential utilisation of Lake Xolotlan for nearby Managua.