The Aguadulce aquifer unit in southeastern Spain is a complex hydrogeological system because of the varied lithology of the aquifer strata and the variability of the processes that can take place within the unit. Factorial analysis of the data allowed the number of variables to be reduced to 3 factors, which were found to be related to such physico-chemical processes as marine intrusion and leaching of saline deposits. Variographic analysis was applied to these factors, culminating in a study of spatial distribution using ordinary kriging. Mapping of the factors allowed rapid differentiation of some of the processes that affect the waters of the Gador carbonate aquifer within the Aguadulce unit, without the need to recur to purely hydrogeochemical techniques. The results indicate the existence of several factors related to salinity: marine intrusion, paleowaters, and/or leaching of marls and evaporitic deposits. The techniques employed are effective, and the results conform to those obtained using hydrogeochemical methods (vertical records of conductivity and temperature, ion ratios, and others). The findings of this study confirm that the application of such analytical methods can provide a useful assessment of factors affecting groundwater composition.
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Vol. 37 • No. 4