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The influence of bedrocks on groundwater chemistry in a crystalline basement complex of southwestern Nigeria

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Groundwater in crystalline basement is highly mineralized. The chemistry of bedrocks in crystalline basement of Ogbomosho in relation to chemical composition of groundwater in the area was, therefore, investigated employing a combined approach involving hydrogeological, geological mapping and geochemical method. A total of seventy five (75) water samples collected from wells; shallow and deep, bore within rock exposures (6) and other locations within the study area were analyzed for elemental composition using Inductive Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS). Physico-chemical parameters, temperature, electrical conductivity (EC), total dissolved solids (TDS) and acidity (pH), were measured in situ using HANNA HI9813-6 hand-held meter. Six rock samples representative of the main geological units of the study area were also collected and analyzed for major oxides and rare earth elements (REE) concentrations using ICP-MS. Thin sections of the rock samples were prepared and observed under petrological microscope for mineralogical compositions of the rocks. Acidity ions/TDS model of groundwater in the area was also established to determine the reactivity of the rock minerals and groundwater evolution pattern. The results of in-situ physico-chemical tests of the water samples indicate the temperature, EC, TDS and pH ranged within 26.6–31.7 °C, 72–1491 mS/cm, 36–747 ppm and 6.15–9.3, respectively. The petrographical analysis revealed biotite, quartz, potassic feldspar (microcline), perthite, albite, hornblende, plagioclase, myrmekite, topaz and muscovite. The major oxides, SiO2, Al2O3, Fe2O3, MgO, CaO, Na2O, K2O, TiO2, P2O5 and MnO, varied with median values of 72.21%, 14.99%, 1.17%, 0.375%, 2.245%, 4.215%, 3.46%, 0.16%, 0.045% and 0.015%. These indicate dorminance of SiO2 and Al2O3 suggesting acidic and metamorphic/acidic igneous rocks, respectively. The median percentage oxide compositions of the cations in rocks were, therefore, of the order: Na2O > K2O > CaO > MgO. The dissolved cations consequent upon weathering of the minerals were also of the order Na+ (26.9 mg/l) > K+ (4.69 mg/l) > Mg2+ (4.57 mg/l) > Ca2+ (4.23 mg/l) in groundwater based on their median values. These indicate solute concentration in groundwater is proportional to the reactivity of the bedrock minerals. The major anions, HCO3, Cl and NO3, varied within 5.0–455 mg/l, 14.18–184.34 mg/l and 0.02–0.21 mg/l, respectively, in groundwater. The cross-plots of TDS against Ca2+, Na+, Cl and HCO3 indicate the groundwater in the area is moderately to highly mineralized. The ionic reactivity based on pH ions/TDS plots indicated six-type models. The ionic concentration at low pH within 6.4–7.2 increases with pH for Type-1 (Ca2+), Type-5 (NO3) and Type-6 (HCO3,TDS), decreases for Type-2 (Mg2+, K+) but constant as pH increases for Type-4 (Cl). At high pH, greater than 7.2 but less than 9, ionic concentration increases with pH for Type-1, Type-2 and Type-4, decreases with pH for Type-6 and constant for Type-5. However, the ionic concentration of Na+ (Type-3) momentarily increased, decreased and subsequently increased through low to high pH. These indicate varied degree of reactivity of the bedrock minerals and groundwater evolution pattern. Thus, the composition of dissolved ions in groundwater is controlled by weathering of Ca-feldspar (plagioclase), K-feldspar (orthoclase), Na-feldspar (albite) and biotite found in host rocks. The similarity in trend of cations in groundwater and their oxides in rock samples suggests the influences of local rock chemistry on the groundwater chemistry and hence, groundwater–rock interaction in the study area. The groundwater evolution pattern in the area depends on pH and reactivity of the ions produced from the weathering of the minerals. The chemical compositions of natural waters are, therefore, a direct indication of the geology of their catchment.

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(Modified from Afolabi et al. 2013)

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(Adapted from Oladunjoye et al. 2013). b Driller cutting log of bore hole 2 in the study area (Adapted from Oladunjoye et al. 2013)

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Adabanija, M.A., Afolabi, O.A. & Lawal, L. The influence of bedrocks on groundwater chemistry in a crystalline basement complex of southwestern Nigeria. Environ Earth Sci 79, 87 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-020-8822-y

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  • Weathering
  • Reactivity of bedrock of bed rock minerals
  • Groundwater–rock interaction
  • Groundwater evolution pattern
  • Crystalline basement