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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Earth Sci. | doi: 10.3389/feart.2019.00088

Assessment of the geochemical potential in a complex tectonic environment of South-east Sicily: new insights from hydrochemical data

  • 1National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, Italy
  • 2Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Catania, Italy

We analyzed a large dataset (143 water sampling sites, 22 variables) of chemical parameters in local groundwaters from the south-east sector of Sicily, namely the Hyblean plateau, in order to set an original evaluation of its geothermal potential using applied geochemistry. The area was affected by volcanism until about 1.4 Ma. Today, though no active volcanism occurs, it is site of surface gas manifestations of focused degassing to which a mantle source has been attributed. We identified and thence selected the most promising sites (water springs and wells) based both on their main geochemical characteristics and on their calculated equilibrium temperature (resulting in the range between 50 and 140 °C). We then applied Principal Component Analysis (PCA) to this restricted dataset and we were able to discriminate between different sources of solutes, both natural and anthropogenic. Finally, we mapped the factor scores obtained from PCA and we focused on those likely related with geothermal conditions in order to highlight the areas with the highest geothermal potential.

Keywords: South-East Sicily, Water geochemistry, Geothermal Energy, Principal components analysis ( PCA ), Geothermometry applications

Received: 01 Feb 2019; Accepted: 10 Apr 2019.

Edited by:

Paolo Censi, University of Palermo, Italy

Reviewed by:

Jacob C. Yde, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway
MARIA AURORA ARMIENTA, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico  

Copyright: © 2019 Ristuccia, Bonfanti, Giammanco and Stella. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Salvatore Giammanco, National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, Catania, 95125, Sicily, Italy, salvatore.giammanco@ingv.it