Assessment of groundwater water quality in central and southern Gulf Coast aquifer, TX using principal component analysis

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21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Principal component analysis has been applied for source identification and to assess factors affecting concentration variations. In particular, this study utilizes principal component analysis (PCA) to understand groundwater geochemical characteristics in the central and southern portions of the Gulf Coast aquifer in Texas. PCA, along with exploratory data analysis and correlation analysis is applied to a spatially extensive multivariate dataset in an exploratory mode to conceptualize the geochemical evolution of groundwater. A general trend was observed in all formations of the target aquifers with over 75 % of the observed variance explained by the first four factors identified by the PCA. The first factor consisted of older water subjected to weathering reactions and was named the ionic strength index. The second factor, named the alkalinity index explained greater variance in the younger formations rather than in the older formations. The third group represented younger waters entering the aquifers from the land surface and was labeled the recharge index. The fourth group which varied between aquifers was either the hardness index or the acidity index depending on whether it represented the influences of carbonate minerals or parameters affecting the dissolution of fluoride minerals, respectively. The PCA approach was also extended to the well scale to determine and identify the geographic influences on geochemical evolution. It was found that wells located in outcrop areas and near rivers and streams had a larger influence on the factors suggesting the importance of surface water-groundwater interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2653-2671
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironmental Earth Sciences
Volume71
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Geochemistry
  • Groundwater age
  • Statistical analysis
  • Water quality

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