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HVSR technique as tool for thermal-basin characterization: a field example in N-E Italy

Galgaro, Antonio, Boaga, Jacopo, Rocca, Michele
Environmental earth sciences 2014 v.71 no.10 pp. 4433-4446
alluvium, bedrock, hydrologic cycle, monitoring, remote sensing, subsidence, surveys, towns, water temperature, Italy
The Euganean thermal basin, located in the Eastern Po plain (Italy), is one of the most important thermal districts of Italy (Euganean–Berician Thermal District). The presence of hot water in the basin has brought about its exploitation over time. The thermal area has been known since the Roman Empire and is still of crucial interest for the profitable use of its hydro-geological resources. For these reasons the water cycle of the thermal area has been thoroughly studied, in particular with regard to its chemical and hydrogeological properties. The effects of well pumping, such as subsidence and water temperature steadiness, have been monitored over time. In the present work, the Horizontal to Vertical Spectral Ratio (HVSR) single station microtremor technique was applied as a non-invasive geophysical tool for the characterization of a part of the Euganean–Berician thermal district involving the municipalities of Abano and Montegrotto towns. This study represents the first correlation between the results from microtremor geophysical surveys and the thermal basin geological structure, including remote sensing data and thermal well information. More than 50 HVSR measurements from single stations were collected and analysed, in close correlation with the vast amount of available borehole logs, well exploitation data and SAR interferometry measurements collected for the monitoring of land subsidence induced by thermal water pumping. The aim of the work was to evaluate the suitability of the microtremor technique for the preliminary characterization of a thermal basin, in terms of resonance properties of the alluvial deposits covering the rocky bedrock, evaluated by means of HVSR methods. HVSR results were interpreted in terms of regional geological setting and hydrogeological properties of the subsoil. Our field results confirmed the existence of significant correlations between the resonance behaviour of the basin determined by the HVSR technique and the geological structures, suggesting that single station measurements are a promising tool for creating a rapid and preliminary non-invasive contribution to the characterization of the geothermal basin.