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Iodine in groundwater of the Guanzhong Basin, China: sources and hydrogeochemical controls on its distribution

Duan, Lei, Wang, Wenke, Sun, Yibo, Zhang, Chunchao
Environmental earth sciences 2016 v.75 no.11 pp. 970
anaerobic conditions, arsenic, basins, bicarbonates, biodegradation, chlorides, evaporation, fluorine, groundwater, groundwater flow, iodine, iodine deficiency, leaching, mineral content, organic matter, pH, piedmont, sediments, solutes, sulfates, water reuse, China
Groundwater sampling at 179 sites in the Guanzhong Basin, China, indicated iodine concentrations ranging from 2 to 28,620 μg/L. 7.3 % of the sites have iodine concentrations <10 μg/L and are categorized as “iodine-deficient water,” whereas 46.0 % display iodine concentrations >300 μg/L and are defined as “iodine excess water.” Sites with low groundwater iodine concentrations are mainly distributed at the edge of a piedmont alluvial–proluvial fan containing bicarbonate-rich water with a low mineral content, near-neutral pH values and low fluorine concentrations. The piedmont fan is characterized by a fast groundwater flow and active leaching of iodine from the sediments. Conversely, high groundwater iodine concentrations are principally located in silty or clayey sedimentary zones having low groundwater flow rates, weakly alkaline to alkaline pH values, and water containing HCO₃·SO₄, SO₄·Cl and Cl·SO₄ hydrochemical types. Elevated iodine concentrations in shallow groundwater commonly occur in discharge areas where there is a high rate of solute evaporation; elevated iodine concentrations in deep groundwater are likely attributed to microbial decomposition of organic matter under anaerobic conditions. Processes of iodine enrichment lead to correlations between high iodine and high fluorine contents in shallow groundwater, and between high iodine and high arsenic concentrations in deep groundwater. Moreover, redox processes and active water recycling are important factors for groundwater iodine enrichment.