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Chemical and isotopic (B, Sr) composition of alluvial sediments as archive of a past hydrothermal outflow

Abstract : The geochemical and isotopic signature of Quaternary alluvial sediments filling a post-orogenic basin along the Tyrrhenian coasts of Italy (Cornia Plain, Tuscany) was investigated to unravel possible interactions with geothermal fluids from the Larderello geothermal field. Two cores located in the upper (UCP) and lower (LCP) sector of the plain were sampled to depths of up to 80 m. A third core in a neighbouring area not affected by geothermal activity was also sampled (Arno plain at Pisa), and its sediment composition was used as reference. The Cornia sediments (fraction < 65 μm) show high B, Cs and Sb concentrations related to a peculiar chemical enrichment of the clay fraction. They also show remarkable enrichments in As (up to 1000 μg g− 1) reflecting a contribution from local ore deposits. 87Sr/86Sr ratios, ranging from 0.71022 to 0.71698, reveal the nature of the weathered mother rocks of the alluvial sediments, whereas the boron isotopic composition, varying from − 20‰ to − 10‰, suggests an interaction between the clay fraction and boron-rich fluids at temperatures greater than 50 °C. This implies that hydrothermal fluids widely circulated within the Cornia basin in the past, ultimately leading to the geochemical anomalies currently recorded in local sediments. Although natural (geogenic) in origin, these anomalies cause severe problems to the regional water management (groundwater exploitation) through leaching of trace elements into circulating groundwater, a phenomenon which has to be carefully studied and monitored.
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Submitted on : Monday, September 6, 2010 - 5:43:08 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, August 3, 2022 - 4:01:39 AM

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M. Pennisi, G. Bianchini, Wolfram Kloppmann, A. Muti. Chemical and isotopic (B, Sr) composition of alluvial sediments as archive of a past hydrothermal outflow. Chemical Geology, Elsevier, 2009, 266 (3-4), p. 114-125. ⟨10.1016/j.chemgeo.2009.05.017⟩. ⟨hal-00515402⟩

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