Analysis of karst spring recession curves, west of Iran


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Arabian Journal of Geosciences

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The recession hydrographs of karst springs provide important information about aquifer characteristics such as storage properties and drainage potential, karstification degree, and other hydrological features. The Faresban, Famaasb, Gonbad-e-Kabood, and Gian springs are the important karst springs which drain main karst aquifers in west of Iran. In this study, we evaluate hydrological characteristics of these four karst springs using different analytic equations. Almost, all the recession curves were well fitted by a function that consists of three main exponential terms. The initial portion of the recession curve represents the fast drainage of large fractures and conduits, ending with the slowly decreasing curve, where the drainage of rock matrix and small fissures or baseflow is dominant. The Gian spring has the largest storage volume but the lowest drained water (7%). Using Mangin’s equation, it is apparent that the baseflow supplies over 85% of the total drained water to the Gian spring, while a small quantity of total outflow is made up of quickflow periods. Of the water available to the Famaasb, Faresban, and Gonbad-e-Kabood springs, 85, 80, and 70% are drained during period of baseflow, respectively, whereas the quickflow periods have minor importance in some springs. Based on the Coutagne’s equation results, it can be concluded that the catchment of the Famaasb and Gonbad-e-Kabood springs have a karstified saturation zone with drainage channels that provide a rapid discharge with little storage capacity. At Gian catchment area, the initial discharge is not as rapid as karstification but is fairly homogeneous throughout the aquifer.


Karst aquifer; Spring hydrograph; Karstification; Recession curve

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