African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology
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Article Number - E772C5F67005


Vol.12(1), pp. 1-14 , January 2018
DOI: 10.5897/AJEST2017.2406
ISSN: 1996-0786



Full Length Research Paper

Groundwater recharge and flow processes as revealed by stable isotopes and geochemistry in fractured Hornblende-biotite-gneiss, Rivirivi Catchment, Malawi



Dwight Kambuku
  • Dwight Kambuku
  • Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8572, Japan.
  • Google Scholar
Maki Tsujimura
  • Maki Tsujimura
  • Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8572, Japan.
  • Google Scholar
Shigeyoshi Kagawa
  • Shigeyoshi Kagawa
  • Society of Researchers for International Development, Tokyo, Japan.
  • Google Scholar







 Received: 14 August 2017  Accepted: 29 September 2017  Published: 31 January 2018

Copyright © 2018 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article.
This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0


To enable sustainable management of groundwater resources, knowledge of dominant hydrogeological processes is fundamental. In this study, stable isotopes of water [δ18O  and δD] and major inorganic ions were used to investigate recharge and groundwater flow processes in a catchment underlain by fractured and faulted hornblende-biotite-gneiss. Spatial and temporal geochemical distributions consistently showed Mg-Ca-HCO3 dominated water facies. Evaporation was established to be the main process affecting isotopic enrichment in the study area. Stable isotopic and geochemical data revealed that a combination of thin overburden soil of up to 30 mm thickness and presence of fractures seem to enable localized rapid preferential recharge processes of isotopically enriched rainwater in shallow groundwater around the ridge section. However, the thicker overburden soil (up to 3 m) along the valley seems to allow only isotopically depleted large rain events to recharge deeper groundwater. The isotopically enriched small rain events seem to be allowed to evaporate before recharging groundwater in areas with thicker overburden soils. It was further established that the valley section also receives regional lateral groundwater recharge from high altitude areas. Regional groundwater flow system in the northwest-southeast (NW-SE) direction was thus established with local flows confirmed around the ridge section. It was also revealed that Ntcheu Fault acts as a conduit of regional groundwater flow in the NW-SE direction. Inter-aquifer connectivity and surface water and groundwater interaction were construed around the ridge section and around B12 and R8, respectively. The rapid recharge and flow phenomena in this type of geological media make the resource susceptible to pollution and inter-annual climatic variabilities. It is prudent therefore to consider such information when implementing other developmental plans in the catchment.

 

Key words: Groundwater recharge, groundwater flow, fractures, geological fault, stable isotopes, geochemistry, hornblende-biotite-gneiss, Malawi.

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APA Kambuku, D., Tsujimura, M., & Kagawa, S. (2018). Groundwater recharge and flow processes as revealed by stable isotopes and geochemistry in fractured Hornblende-biotite-gneiss, Rivirivi Catchment, Malawi. African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology , 12(1), 1-14.
Chicago Dwight Kambuku, Maki Tsujimura and Shigeyoshi Kagawa. "Groundwater recharge and flow processes as revealed by stable isotopes and geochemistry in fractured Hornblende-biotite-gneiss, Rivirivi Catchment, Malawi." African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology 12, no. 1 (2018): 1-14.
MLA Dwight Kambuku, Maki Tsujimura and Shigeyoshi Kagawa. "Groundwater recharge and flow processes as revealed by stable isotopes and geochemistry in fractured Hornblende-biotite-gneiss, Rivirivi Catchment, Malawi." African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology 12.1 (2018): 1-14.
   
DOI 10.5897/AJEST2017.2406
URL http://academicjournals.org/journal/AJEST/article-abstract/E772C5F67005

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