22-27 September 2019
Trade Fairs and Congress Center (FYCMA)
Europe/Madrid timezone

Contribution of deicing and rainfall to recharge to a volcanic aquifer in northern Chile

24 Sep 2019, 16:00
Trade Fairs and Congress Center (FYCMA)

Trade Fairs and Congress Center (FYCMA)

Av. de José Ortega y Gasset, 201 29006 Malaga, Spain
Poster Topic 6 - Groundwater, wetlands and natural heritage Poster with refreshments


Dr Jorge Jódar (Instituto Geológico y Minero de España (IGME))


A study has been done on recharge to a volcanic aquifer in arid climate, in the Andean Altiplano (Highland) in northern Chile. This is important for ecosystems and shallow saline lakes depending on these water systems. In order to consider deicing and rainfall contribution to recharge, an energy balance of the snow cover has been done using the code FSM and a water balance in the soil using the code Visual-BALAN. To calibrate the energy balance the presence of snow has been mapped in the high part of the Tuyajto Volcano, using satellite MODIS / Terra images and the results has been compared with the simulated results, while for the soil water balance data on piezometric level and springs in the northern and eastern boundary of Laguna Tuyajto (Tuyajto Lake). Results show that estimated average recharge is 35 mm/year, which amount to 23% of average annual precipitation. However, average recharge values decrease to 15 mm/year, equivalent to 12% of average annual precipitation, at altitudes below 4700 m, due to the clear reduction of snow precipitation, the higher temperatures and the existence of sediments containing a greater fine fraction in the center of the basins. It has been estimated that the greatest recharge (32%) is produced in March and coincides with the greatest frequency of intense short rains. During this month there is no deicing contribution to recharge as snow precipitation events amount only to a few mm that fully evaporate before ice melt. The second greater recharge month is November (14%) with snowmelt contributing 100% of recharge from the melt of snow that cumulated during the austral winter and did not melted due to the low temperatures. In general terms, ice contribution to recharge is important at elevations higher than 4700 m asl. Recharge exceeds 30% above 4900 m asl and is 13% between 4700 and 4900 m asl. Below 4700 m deicing is irrelevant (<1%) to produce recharge. Deicing contribution to recharge is greater during September, October and November, amounting respectively to 44%, 38% and 100% of total recharge. It has been demonstrated that deicing and rain contribution in a basin in the Altiplano in northern Chile have seasonal variability and that snow play an important role in the water balance of these systems. This is important for sustainability studies of groundwater existence and use.

Primary authors

Javier Urrutia (Departamento de Ciencias Geológicas, Universidad Católica del Norte, Antofagasta, Chile. ) Christian Herrera (1 Departamento de Ciencias Geológicas, Universidad Católica del Norte, Antofagasta, ChileUniver) Emilio Custodio (Technical University of Catalonia)

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