Combined geological, hydrogeological, and geochemical controls on the arsenic concentration of contaminated aquifers in SE Asia were explored by two-dimensional (2-D) reactive transport modeling of data sets from Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Vietnam. For each site, the field data are summarized and used to create a conceptual 2-D reactive transport model that elucidates characteristic features influencing the groundwater arsenic concentration. Comparison of models for Bangladesh and Vietnam indicates that fine-grained layers overlying young sandy aquifers generate shallow high arsenic groundwater because low vertical groundwater velocities allow sufficient time for kinetic As release from the sediment. The low vertical groundwater velocity below major river channels, predicted by the model, also creates long groundwater residence times, leading to high arsenic groundwater. Young aquifer sediments release more arsenic than older sediments, and alternating young and older sediments create complex patterns of high and low arsenic groundwater. Over time, floodplain basins will subside, and river channels migrate, causing sedimentation and erosion on the floodplain while creating local environments with evolving hydrogeology and groundwater geochemistry. We have developed a three-step model for the evolution of the Red River floodplain with sedimentation and shifting channels over the last 6000 years. The results show comparable timescales between the dynamics of arsenic release and of river migration, causing complex groundwater As distributions, comprising geochemical palinopsia of long vanished rivers.
- Programområde 2: Vandressourcer