Articles | Volume 16, issue 2
Research article
17 Feb 2012
Research article |  | 17 Feb 2012

Hydrogeology and hydrogeochemistry of an alkaline volcanic area: the NE Mt. Meru slope (East African Rift – Northern Tanzania)

G. Ghiglieri, D. Pittalis, G. Cerri, and G. Oggiano

Abstract. The objective of this study is to analyze the geochemical conditions associated with the presence of fluoride (F) in the groundwater of an area of Northern Tanzania. The studied aquifers are composed of volcanic rocks such as phonolitic and nephelinitic lavas, basalts, lahars of various ages and mantling ash. Sedimentary rocks consisting of fine-grained alluvial and lacustrine deposits occur as well. Samples collected from springs, borehole and surface water, during two monitoring surveys, were analyzed for the various physico-chemical and isotopic parameters. The geochemical composition of water is typically sodium bicarbonate. High values of F (up to 68 mg l−1) were recorded. The highest values of fluoride agreed with the highest values of pH, sodium and bicarbonate. Dissolution of major ions, exchange processes and precipitation of Ca2+ from super-saturated solutions joined with the local permeability and hydraulic gradients, control the fluoride mobilization and the contamination of the area.