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Naturally occurring arsenic in terrestrial geothermal systems of western Anatolia, Turkey: Potential role in contamination of freshwater resources
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Arsenic (As) contamination in terrestrial geothermal systems has been identified in many countries worldwide. Concentrations higher than 0.01mg/L are detrimental to human health. We examined potential consequences for As contamination of freshwater resources based on hydrogeochemical investigations of geothermal waters in deep wells and hot springs collected from western Anatolia, Turkey. We analyzed samples for major ions and trace element concentrations. Temperature of geothermal waters in deep wells showed extreme ranges (40 and 230°C), while, temperature of hot spring fluids was up to 90°C. The Piper plot illustrated two dominant water types: Na-HCO3 - type for geothermal waters in deep wells and Ca-HCO3 - type for hot spring fluids. Arsenic concentration ranged from 0.03 to 1.5mg/L. Dominance of reduced As species, i.e., As(III), was observed in our samples. The Eh value ranged between -250 and 119mV, which suggests diverse geochemical conditions. Some of the measured trace elements were found above the World Health Organization guidelines and Turkish national safe drinking water limits. The variation in pH (range: 6.4-9.3) and As in geothermal waters suggest mixing with groundwater. Mixing of geothermal waters is primarily responsible for contamination of freshwater resources and making them unsuitable for drinking or irrigation.