• The hydrogeology, schematic model of flow direction
  • Hydrochemical effects of the Jahani Salt Diapir (JSD) on the adjacent water resources
  • Factors controlling the development of salt karst
  • The mechanisms prevent deep cave development and enforce the emergence points of brine springs
  • The morphology of the JSD was reevaluated by field work


The Jahani Salt Diapir (JSD), with an area of 54 km2, is an active diapir in the Simply Folded Belt of the Zagros Orogeny, in the south of Iran. Most of the available studies on this diapir are focused on tectonics. The hydrogeology, schematic model of flow direction and hydrochemical effects of the JSD on the adjacent water resources are lacking, and thus, are the focus of this study. The morphology of the JSD was reevaluated by fieldwork and using available maps. The physicochemical characteristics of the springs and hydrometric stations were also measured. The vent of the diapir is located 250 m higher than the surrounding glaciers, and covered by small polygonal sinkholes (dolines). The glacier is covered by cap soils, sparse trees and pastures, and contains large sinkholes, numerous shafts, several caves, and 30 brine springs. Two main groups of caves were distinguished. Sub-horizontal or inclined stream passages following the surface valleys and vertical shafts (with short inlet caves) at the bottoms of nearly circular blind valleys. Salt exposure is limited to steep slopes. The controlling variables of flow route within salt diapirs are the negligible porosity of the salt rocks at depth more than about ten meters below the ground surface and the rapid halite saturation along the flow route. These mechanisms prevent deep cave development and enforce the emergence points of brine springs with low flow rates and small catchment area throughout the JSD and above the local base of erosion. Tectonics do not affect karst development, because the distributions of sinkholes and brine springs show no preferential directions. The type of spring water is sodium chloride, with a TDS of 320 g/l, and saturated with halite, gypsum, calcite and dolomite. The water balance budget of the JSD indicates that the total recharge water is 1.46 MCM (million cubic meter)/a, emerges from 30 brine springs, two springs from the adjacent karstic limestone, and flows into the Firoozabad River (FR) and the adjacent alluvium aquifer. The FR cuts through the northern margin of the salt diapir, dissolving the glacier salts at the contact with JSD, increasing the halite concentration of the 17.7 MCM/a of the FR from 100 mg/l to 12,000 mg/l. This is a permanent process because the active glacier flows rapidly down the steep slopes into the river gorge from the nearby vent. The possible relocation of the FR channel would enhance the FR water quality, but disrupt the natural beauty of the diapir.



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