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Detecting the flow relationships between deep and shallow aquifers in an exploited groundwater system, using long-term monitoring data and quantitative hydrogeology: the Acque Albule basin case (Rome, Italy)


Correspondence to: Francesco La Vigna, RomaTRE University, Geological Sciences Department, LinQ – Numerical and Quantitative Hydrogeology Laboratory, Largo S. Leonardo Murialdo, 1 – 00146, Rome, Italy.



Five years of hydrogeological monitoring and field activities performed in the complex hydrogeological system of the Acque Albule basin (AAB) were conducted to define the hydrogeological setting, the relationship between deep and shallow aquifers and a conceptual groundwater flow model of this exploited area using conventional quantitative techniques. The basin, which is located close to Rome (Italy) on the west side of the Apennine chain and just north of the Colli Albani volcano, subsided after development of a north–south fault system (about 115 000 y bp). The AAB experiences intense hydrothermal activity, which has produced a large travertine deposit (80-m thick). The travertine deposit constitutes a fractured aquifer that is the final destination of more than 5 m3 s-1 of water and is strongly dewatered by quarry activities.

The complex hydrogeology of this basin was investigated, revealing two main hydraulically connected aquifers, one thermalised and partly confined into the limestone bedrock and one unconfined in the travertine. The two aquifers are separated by a non-continuous clayey aquiclude. The hydrogeological survey and geological characterisation contributed to the development of the groundwater flow conceptual model. Analysis and comparison of the monitored levels highlighted the pattern of flow between the deep and shallow parts of the flow system. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.