Geophysical and stratigraphical research into deep groundwater and intruding seawater in the mediterranean area (the Salento Peninsula, Italy)
Abstract. Geological, geophysical and hydrological surveys were performed in an area between Lecce to the North and Otranto to the South on the Lower Adriatic coast of Italy in order to verify the ``state of health'' of the ground water in the deep aquifer, which is characterised by Mesozoic carbonatic formations and is permeable due to fracturing and karstic phenomena. This area was chosen because it is highly urbanised, and contains many wells, some of which were intensively studied from a geological and hydro-geological point of view in 1987. The first phase of the research consisted of a stratigraphical and geological study, based on geological surveys of the surface and the subsoil by direct observation of borehole cores and the collection and analysis of existing stratigraphical data on wells in the area. The stratigraphical and hydrogeological data are kept in the archives of local agencies. The collected data were organised in a single database managed by an appropriate software (ARCVIEW). Numerous geological cross sections of the territory were studied in order to characterise the subsoil. Subsequently, multi-parameter surveys (O2, pH, temperature, TDS, conductivity) were carried out on the water-column of certain wells selected from those studied in 1987. This was to verify possible changes in the state of the groundwater since 1987. The surveys were carried out in two different periods (May and September) in order to identify potential differences between rainy and dry periods. Moreover, electrical tomography was used to characterise the various subsurface geological formations and possible saline water intrusion where direct information collected from the wells was lacking.
From the research conducted it was possible to effect a stratigraphical characterisation of the subsoil and to verify overexploitation of the water resources resulting from the increasing number of wells, and the consequent deterioration of the aquifer due to saline water intrusion. The research also confirms the validity of geophysical methods for the study of hydro-geological issues.