Natural Tracers in recent groundwaters from different Alpine aquifers

Kilchmann, S.; Waber, H. Niklaus; Parriaux, A.; Bensimon, M. (2004). Natural Tracers in recent groundwaters from different Alpine aquifers. Hydrogeology journal, 12(6), pp. 643-661. Verlag Heinz Heise 10.1007/s10040-004-0366-9

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Groundwater with underground residence times between days and a few years have been investigated over more than 20 years from 487 remote sites located in different aquifer types in the Alpine belt. Analysis of the data reveals that groundwaters evolved in crystalline, evaporite, carbonate, molasse, and flysch aquifers can be clearly distinguished based on their major and trace element composition and degree of mineralisation. A further subdivision can be made even within one aquifer type based on the trace element compositions, which are characteristic for the lithologic environment. Major and trace element concentrations can be quantitatively described by interaction of the groundwater with the aquifer- specific mineralogy along the flow path. Because all investigated sites show minimal anthropogenic influences, the observed concentration ranges represent the natural background concentrations and can thus serve as a “geo-reference” for recent groundwaters from these five aquifer types. This “geo-reference” is particularly useful for the identification of groundwater contamination. It further shows that drinking water standards can be grossly exceeded for critical elements by purely natural processes

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences > Rock-Water Interaction

UniBE Contributor:

Waber, Niklaus


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology




Verlag Heinz Heise




Niklaus Waber

Date Deposited:

24 Oct 2014 12:18

Last Modified:

10 Aug 2015 10:43

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Natural groundwater composition, Natural tracer elements, Rock-water interaction, Geochemical modelling, Groundwater observation networks




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