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Hydrogeology of the Umm Er Radhuma Aquifer (Arabian peninsula)

Dirks, Heiko, Al Ajmi, Hussain, Kienast, Peter, Rausch, Randolf
Grundwasser 2018 v.23 no.1 pp. 5-15
aquifers, arid zones, climate change, fossils, groundwater, limestone, sea level, West Asia
The aim of this article is to enhance the understanding of the Umm Er Radhuma aquifer’s genesis, and its hydraulic and hydrochemical development over time. This is a prerequisite for wise use of the fossil groundwater resources contained within.The Umm Er Radhuma is a karstified limestone aquifer, extending over 1.6 Mio. km² in the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula. Both epigene and hypogene karstification contributed to the genesis of what is today the most prolific aquifer in the region. Besides man-made abstractions, even the natural outflows are higher than the small recharge (natural storage depletion). The Umm Er Radhuma shows that large aquifers in arid regions are never in “steady state” (where inflows equal outflows), considering Quaternary climate history. The aquifer’s adaption to climate changes (precipitation, sea level) can be traced even after thousands of years, and is slower than the climate changes themselves.