Hydrochemical determination of source water contributions to Lake Lungo and Lake Ripasottile (central Italy)

Claire Archer, Paula Noble, David Kreamer, Vincenzo Piscopo, Marco Petitta, Michael R. Rosen, Simon R. Poulson, Gianluca Piovesan, Scott Mensing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Lake Lungo and Lake Ripasottile are two shallow (4-5 m) lakes located in the Rieti Basin, central Italy, that have been described previously as surface outcroppings of the groundwater table. In this work, the two lakes as well as springs and rivers that represent their potential source waters are characterized physio-chemically and isotopically, using a combination of environmental tracers. Temperature and pH were measured and water samples were analyzed for alkalinity, major ion concentration, and stable isotope (δ2H, δ18O, δ13C of dissolved inorganic carbon, and δ34S and δ18O of sulfate) composition. Chemical data were also investigated in terms of local meteorological data (air temperature, precipitation) to determine the sensitivity of lake parameters to changes in the surrounding environment. Groundwater represented by samples taken from Santa Susanna Spring was shown to be distinct with SO42- and Mg2+ content of 270 and 29 mg/L, respectively, and heavy sulfate isotopic composition (δ34S=15.2‰ and δ18O=10‰). Outflow from the Santa Susanna Spring enters Lake Ripasottile via a canal and both spring and lake water exhibits the same chemical distinctions and comparatively low seasonal variability. Major ion concentrations in Lake Lungo are similar to the Vicenna Riara Spring and are interpreted to represent the groundwater locally recharged within the plain. The δ13CDIC exhibit the same groupings as the other chemical parameters, providing supporting evidence of the source relationships. Lake Lungo exhibited exceptional ranges of δ13CDIC (±5‰) and δ2H, δ18O (±5 ‰ and ±7 ‰, respectively), attributed to sensitivity to seasonal changes. The hydrochemistry results, particularly major ion data, highlight how the two lakes, though geographically and morphologically similar, represent distinct hydrochemical facies. These data also show a different response in each lake to temperature and precipitation patterns in the basin that may be attributed to lake water retention time. The sensitivity of each lake to meteorological patterns can be used to understand the potential effects from long-term climate variability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-342
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Limnology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the Riserva Naturale dei Laghi Lungo e Ripasottile and their employees, especially Paolo Bellezza and Maurizio Sterpi, who helped significantly with sample collection and by providing housing at the field site. The Agenzia Regionale per la Protezione Ambientale della Regione Lazio was also fundamental in this work through their data contribution. Professors Maurizio and Mario Barbieri and Sapienza University of Rome generously contributed with lab space and time for a portion of the sample processing. A portion of funding for this work was provided by the National Science Foundation grant (GSS-1228126) awarded to Mensing and Noble, and also by the Paul Yaniga Memorial Trust.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Page Press Publications All rights reserved.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Central Italy
  • Hydrochemistry
  • Limnology
  • Stable isotopes

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