Salt dissolution potential estimated from two-dimensional vertical thermohaline flow and transport modeling along a Transylvanian salt diapir, Romania


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January 2019


The presented study explores the salt dissolution potential of fluids around a salt diapir in the Transylvanian town of Ocna Mures, Romania, which is facing land-collapse hazards related to salt mining activities. A structural three-dimensional (3D) model of the salt diapir, the adjacent basin sediments, and the mining galleries was developed based on existing maps, borehole data, own field observations, and geological publications of the Transylvanian Basin. The salt dissolution potential was estimated from 2D vertical thermohaline flow and transport model scenarios along the southeastern flank of the diapir. Results showed that the following factors increase the salt dissolution capacity along the upper 180 m of the diapir: (1) the presence of more permeable Quaternary alluvial sediments in connection with a fault zone of higher permeability along the diapir, and (2) the presence of more permeable sandstone units within the Miocene sediments in the east of the diapir, which provide freshwater access to the upper parts of the diapir. Thermohaline simulation with viscosity variation of the fluid, instead of a constant viscosity, influences the resulting salt fluxes by up to 50% within studied temperature ranges of 10–60 °C in the model domain. The range of theoretical dissolution rates along the upper 180 m of the diapir supports the hypothesis that cavern collapse is more likely to occur where cavern side walls have already been mined to almost no remaining side walls of rock salt, which is the case in the southeastern part of the diapir.


Diapir, Mining, Romania, Salinization, Numerical Modeling

Document Type



Hydrogeology Journal, Vol. 27, no. 4 (2019-01-14).