year of publication
In this paper the very first geochemical and isotopic data related to surface and spring waters and dissolved gases in the area of Hontomín–Huermeces (Burgos, Spain) are presented and discussed. Hontomín–Huermeces has been selected as a pilot site for the injection of pure (>99%) CO2. Injection and monitoring wells are planned to be drilled close to 6 oil wells completed in the 1980s for which detailed stratigraphical logs are available, indicating the presence of a confined saline aquifer at the depth of about 1500 m into which less than 100,000 tons of liquid CO2 will be injected, possibly starting in 2013.
The chemical and features of the spring waters suggest that they are related to a shallow hydrogeological system as the concentration of the Total Dissolved Solids approaches 800 mg/L with a Ca2+(Mg2+)-HCO3− composition, similar to that of the surface waters. This is also supported by the oxygen and hydrogen isotopic ratios that have values lying between those of the Global and the Mediterranean Meteoric Water Lines. Some spring waters close to the oil wells are characterized by relatively high concentrations of NO3− (up to 123 mg/L), unequivocally suggesting an anthropogenic source that adds to the main water–rock interaction processes. The latter can be referred to Ca-Mg-carbonate and, at a minor extent, Al-silicate dissolution, being the outcropping sedimentary rocks characterized by Palaeozoic to Quaternary rocks. Anomalous concentrations of Cl−, SO42−, As, B and Ba were measured in two springs discharging a few hundred meters from the oil wells and in the Rio Ubierna. These contents are significantly higher than those of the whole set of the studied waters and are possibly indicative of mixing processes, although at very low extent, between deep and shallow aquifers. No evidence of deep-seated gases interacting with the Hontomín–Huermeces waters was recognized in the chemistry of the dissolved gases. This is likely due to the fact that they are mainly characterized by an atmospheric source as highlighted by the high contents of N2, O2 and Ar and by N2/Ar ratios that approach that of ASW (Air Saturated Water) and possibly masking any contribution related to a deep source. Nevertheless, significant concentrations (up to 63% by vol.) of isotopically negative CO2 (<−17.7‰ V-PDB) were found in some water samples, likely related to a biogenic source.
The geochemical and isotopic data of this work are of particular importance when a monitoring program will be established to verify whether CO2 leakages, induced by the injection of this greenhouse gas, may be affecting the quality of the waters in the shallow hydrological circuits at Hontomín–Huermeces. In this respect, carbonate chemistry, the isotopic carbon of dissolved CO2 and TDIC (Total Dissolved Inorganic Carbon) and selected trace elements can be considered as useful parameters to trace the migration of the injected CO2 into near-surface environments.