Informations et ressources scientifiques
sur le développement des zones arides et semi-arides

Accueil du site → Doctorat → Finlande → Geochemistry and water quality of Lake Qarun, Egypt

Lappeenranta University of Technology (2015)

Geochemistry and water quality of Lake Qarun, Egypt

Abdel Wahed, Mahmoud S. M. 

Titre : Geochemistry and water quality of Lake Qarun, Egypt

Auteur : Abdel Wahed, Mahmoud S. M. 

Université de soutenance : Lappeenranta University of Technology

Grade : Doctor of Science (Technology) 2015

Water geochemistry is a very important tool for studying the water quality in a given area. Geology and climate are the major natural factors controlling the chemistry of most natural waters. Anthropogenic impacts are the secondary sources of contamination in natural waters. This study presents the first integrative approach to the geochemistry and water quality of surface waters and Lake Qarun in the Fayoum catchment, Egypt. Moreover, geochemical modeling of Lake Qarun was firstly presented. The Nile River is the main source of water to the Fayoum watershed. To investigate the quality and geochemistry of this water, water samples from irrigation canals, drains and Lake Qarun were collected during the period 2010‒2013 from the whole Fayoum drainage basin to address the major processes and factors governing the evolution of water chemistry in the investigation area. About 34 physicochemical quality parameters, including major ions, oxygen isotopes, trace elements, nutrients and microbiological parameters were investigated in the water samples. Multivariable statistical analysis was used to interpret the interrelationship between the different studied parameters. Geochemical modeling of Lake Qarun was carried out using Hardie and Eugster’s evolutionary model and a model simulated by PHREEQC software. The crystallization sequence during evaporation of Lake Qarun brine was also studied using a Jänecke phase diagram involving the system Na‒K‒Mg‒ Cl‒SO4‒H2O. The results show that the chemistry of surface water in the Fayoum catchment evolves from Ca- Mg-HCO3 at the head waters to Ca‒Mg‒Cl‒SO4 and eventually to Na‒Cl downstream and at Lake Qarun. The main processes behind the high levels of Na, SO4 and Cl in downstream waters and in Lake Qarun are dissolution of evaporites from Fayoum soils followed by evapoconcentration. This was confirmed by binary plots between the different ions, Piper plot, Gibb’s plot and δ18O results. The modeled data proved that Lake Qarun brine evolves from drainage waters via an evaporation‒crystallization process. Through the precipitation of calcite and gypsum, the solution should reach the final composition "Na–Mg–SO4–Cl". As simulated by PHREEQC, further evaporation of lake brine can drive halite to precipitate in the final stages of evaporation. Significantly, the crystallization sequence during evaporation of the lake brine at the concentration ponds of the Egyptian Salts and Minerals Company (EMISAL) reflected the findings from both Hardie and Eugster’s evolutionary model and the PHREEQC simulated model. After crystallization of halite at the EMISAL ponds, the crystallization sequence during evaporation of the residual brine (bittern) was investigated using a Jänecke phase diagram at 35 °C. This diagram was more useful than PHREEQC for predicting the evaporation path especially in the case of this highly concentrated brine (bittern). The predicted crystallization path using a Jänecke phase diagram at 35 °C showed that halite, hexahydrite, kainite and kieserite should appear during bittern evaporation. Yet the actual crystallized mineral salts were only halite and hexahydrite. The absence of kainite was due to its metastability while the absence of kieserite was due to opposed relative humidity. The presence of a specific MgSO4.nH2O phase in ancient evaporite deposits can be used as a paleoclimatic indicator. Evaluation of surface water quality for agricultural purposes shows that some irrigation waters and all drainage waters have high salinities and therefore cannot be used for irrigation. Waters from irrigation canals used as a drinking water supply show higher concentrations of Al and suffer from high levels of total coliform (TC), fecal coliform (FC) and fecal streptococcus (FS). These waters cannot be used for drinking or agricultural purposes without treatment, because of their high health risk. Therefore it is crucial that environmental protection agencies and the media increase public awareness of this issue, especially in rural areas.


Version intégrale (12,95 Mb)

Page publiée le 1er septembre 2016, mise à jour le 4 avril 2018