The chemical evolution of the Kurnub Group paleowater was studied starting from rainwater in recharge areas of the Sinai and along groundwater flowpaths leading to the natural outlets of this regional aquifer. This was achieved by investigating the chemical composition of groundwater, ionic ratios, degrees of saturation with common mineral species, normative analysis of dissolved salts and by modeling of rock/water interaction and mixing processes occurring along groundwater flow paths. The initial groundwater composition used is from the Nakhel well in Sinai. It evolves from desert rainwater percolating through typical Kurnub Group lithology in Sinai. This rainwater dissolves mainly gypsum, halite and dolomite together with smaller amounts of marine aerosol and K-feldspar. At the same time it precipitates calcite, SiO2, smectite and degasses CO2. Between the area of Nakhel and the northern Negev the chemistry of Kurnub Group waters is influenced by dissolution of halite and lesser amounts of gypsum of surficial origin in recharge areas, small amounts of feldspars and of dolomite cement in sandstones eroded from the Arabo-Nubian igneous massif of Sinai and organic degradation-derived CO2. Concomitantly, there is precipitation of calcite, smectite, SiO2 and probably analcime characteristic of sediments in continental closed basins. North of the Negev, the Kurnub Group fluids are diluted and altered by mixing with Judea Group aquifer groundwaters. On the E there is mixing with residual brines from the water body ancestral to the Dead Sea, prior to discharge into the Arava valley. Rock/water interaction indicated by NETPATH and PHREEQC modeling is in agreement with lithology and facies changes previously observed in the Kurnub Group sequence.
Additional publication details
The chemical evolution of Kurnub Group palcowater in the Sinai-Negev province - A mass balance approach