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Title (Primary) Groundwater evaporation from salt pans: examples from the eastern Arabian Peninsula
Author Schulz, S.; Horovitz, M.; Rausch, R.; Michelsen, N.; Mallast, U.; Köhne, M.; Siebert, C.; Schüth, C.; Al-Saud, M.; Merz, R.;
Journal Journal of Hydrology
Year 2015
Department BOPHY; CATHYD;
Volume 531
Issue Part 3
Language englisch;
POF III (all) T34;
Keywords Evaporation; Salt pan; Playa; Sabkha; Remote sensing; Column experiment
UFZ wide themes RU1
Abstract The major groundwater resources of the Arabian Peninsula are stored in the large sedimentary basins in its eastern part. Evaporation from continental salt pans (playas) is an important process in water resources assessments of its upper principal aquifers – the Upper Mega Aquifer system – as it constitutes a significant sink. However, literature values on evaporation rates vary widely and usually report about coastal salt pans where seawater evaporation is assumed. The present study applies different methods to provide a comprehensive picture of groundwater evaporation from salt pans of the Upper Mega Aquifer system. A remote sensing approach provided the spatial distribution and total salt pan area of about 36,500 km2. Hydrochemical and isotopic investigations revealed that from about 10% (3600 km2 ± 1600 km2) of the mapped salt pan area seawater evaporates. To estimate the groundwater evaporation rate from continental salt pans a laboratory column experiment was set up, implying a mean annual evaporation rate of about 42 mm ± 13 mm. In-situ analysis of water table fluctuations in the field suggested about 3 mm a−1 originate from recently infiltrated rainwater leading to an annual net groundwater evaporation of 39 mm ± 13 mm. Relating this number to the mapped salt pan area, from which groundwater evaporates, provides a total annual groundwater loss of 1.3 km3 ± 0.5 km3 for the Upper Mega Aquifer system.
ID 16974
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Schulz, S., Horovitz, M., Rausch, R., Michelsen, N., Mallast, U., Köhne, M., Siebert, C., Schüth, C., Al-Saud, M., Merz, R. (2015):
Groundwater evaporation from salt pans: examples from the eastern Arabian Peninsula
J. Hydrol. 531 (Part 3), 792 - 801