Hydrogeochemical reconnaissance of arsenic cycling and possible environmental risk in hydrothermal systems of Taiwan
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Hydrothermal activity creates geo-hydro-chemical interactions between hot water/fluid and the host rocks, which changes the hydro-chemical composition of the geothermal water/fluid and enriches trace elements. Existence of arsenic (As) is reported from different hydrothermal systems as well as several region in groundwater system at elevated concentration globally, compared to 10 μg/L WHO (World health Organization) guideline. The distribution of dissolved major and minor elements, including arsenic (As) was studied in hydrothermal systems of Taiwan. For the first time in Taiwan As(V) and As(III) species were researched from the three principal geological settings of Taiwan. Aim was to understand the cycling, fate and transport and potential impact of As on the surficial hydrological systems. Water samples were collected from sixteen hydrothermal springs of 3 different geological settings. Three groups of hydrothermal spring water samples could be distinguished: (i) strongly acidic (pH<3), sulfate-enriched waters of H-SO4-type (Yangmingshan, and Taipu, Beitou), (ii) slightly alkaline waters (pH: 8–8.95) (Jiben, Antung and Kung-Tzu-Ling), and (iii) circum-neutral waters (pH 6.47–7.41) of Na-HCO3/Na-Cl-HCO3-type (Wulai, Hongye, Rueisuei, Chung-Lun and Biolai). The waters are enriched with alkali and alkali earth metals compared to drinking water. Similarly, the water of most of the geothermal springs were found to be enriched with As (highest concentration at Beitou: 1.456 mg/L) with As(III) being the principal As species. Arsenic concentrations of hydrothermal spring waters in igneous rock terrains exhibit highest concentrations (0.69±0.71 mg/L) followed by those of sedimentary (0.16±0.14 mg/L) and metamorphic (0.06±0.02 mg/L) terrains. The discharged geothermal springs water contaminate the surface and groundwater (including drinking and irrigation water resources), where significant levels of arsenic and other toxic element have detected and hence being a significant risk for human health and environmental.
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