Conceptual model for karstic aquifers by combined analysis of GIS, chemical, thermal, and isotopic tools in Tuniso-Algerian transboundary basin

  • Amor Hamad
  • Riheb HadjiEmail author
  • Fethi Bâali
  • Besser Houda
  • Belgacem Redhaounia
  • Karim Zighmi
  • Radhia Legrioui
  • Serhane Brahmi
  • Younes Hamed
Original Paper


The Algero-Tunisian transboundry basin contains a multi-layered aquifer referring to two principal productive levels: Zebbag (Cenomanian–Turonian) and Abiod (Campanian–Maastrichian) carbonate formations. The hydrogeological functioning of this karstic system is largely determined by tectonics (Gafsa–Tebessa, Boulabâa faults...). With regard to the growing water demands, groundwater resources in the study area are subject of intense exploitation. Hence, the objective of this study is to refine the understanding of recharge processes in watersheds by a combined isotopic and hydrogeochemistry investigation. The TDS of the sampled waters vary between 10 and 490 mg l−1. It increases from the mountain regions towards the discharge area due the weathering formations, recharge process, and fracturing rate. The isotope compositions from the sampled springs indicate that water composition is influenced by both the southern Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean precipitations, but the spatial distribution of isotopic composition does not differentiate between the different recharge sources. Karst aquifers are likely fed by direct infiltration of the meteoric water and snow sublimation. Tebessa-Kasserine region contains a number of hydrothermal occurrences in the carbonate formations in the western and the eastern parts. They refer to the low enthalpy fields of Youkous area (Algerian territory) and Boulabâa area (Tunisian territory), respectively. The geochemical and isotopic characterization of these thermal waters indicates a considerable recharge contribution by subsurface flow “hydrothermal upwelling” from the deep hot resources.


Hydrogeologic modeling Water resources Fractured carbonate aquifers Groundwater management Tebessa-Kasserine basin 



Many thanks are due to anonymous reviewers who greatly improved an early version of the manuscript. The authors should like also to thank sincerely the numerous people who helped me in the preparation of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amor Hamad
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Riheb Hadji
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  • Fethi Bâali
    • 3
    • 4
  • Besser Houda
    • 2
    • 3
  • Belgacem Redhaounia
    • 3
    • 6
  • Karim Zighmi
    • 3
    • 4
  • Radhia Legrioui
    • 1
    • 3
  • Serhane Brahmi
    • 1
    • 3
  • Younes Hamed
    • 2
    • 3
    • 7
  1. 1.Water and Environment Laboratory, Department of Earth SciencesTebessa UniversityTebessaAlgeria
  2. 2.Geo-systems, Geo-resources and Geo-environments research unity, Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of SciencesGabes UniversityZrig EddakhlaniaTunisia
  3. 3.International Association of Water Resources in the Southern Mediterranean BasinGafsaTunisia
  4. 4.Department of Earth SciencesSetif UniversitySetifAlgeria
  5. 5.Earth Sciences DepartmentFarhat Abbas UniversitySetifAlgeria
  6. 6.Water Researches and Technologies Center Borj-Cedria (CERTE)SolimanTunisia
  7. 7.Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Sciences of GafsaUniversity of GafsaGafsaTunisia

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