A deterministic approach to the coupled analysis of karst springs' hydrographs and chemographs


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Publication Date

August 2003


During the chemically based recession flow phase of karstic springs the carbonate (dissolved limestone) concentration can be expressed as negative power of the flow rate. The empirically determined Conc/Q relationship allows two parameters (α and A) to be defined, of which one (α) depends on the geometric dimensions of the saturated (submerged) karstic network. In this paper we present a deterministic model which simulates the concentration of carbonate at the outlet of a network of circular rectilinear conduits as a function of flow rate. This model, based on hydraulic principles and the calcite dissolution kinetics, allows the sensitivity of the α and A parameters to be studied under different chemical, physical and geometric scenarios. Simulation results show that A is a function of the calcite saturation concentration, whereas α depends on the spatial dimensions of the karstic network (void length and aperture). The deterministic model results were applied to real karstic systems to evaluate the geometric dimensions of submerged karstic networks.


Karst Springs, Hydrochemistry, Modelling, Karst Hydrology

Document Type



Journal of Hydrology, Vol. 271, no. 4-Jan.