pISSN 0705-3797 eISSN 2586-1298
HOME Article View


Episodes 2024; 47(1): 11-21

Published online March 1, 2024


Copyright © International Union of Geological Sciences.

The mechanism of high salinity geothermal water formed in karst low-temperature hydrothermal system

Xumei Mao*, Tong Zhao, Jianqiao Ye, Yaqun Dong

School of Environmental Studies, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China

Correspondence to:*E-mail: maoxumei@cug.edu.cn

Received: October 27, 2022; Revised: April 7, 2023; Accepted: April 7, 2023

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The formation mechanism of high salinity geothermal water is significant for utilizing geothermal resources and mineral resources. The high salinity in geothermal water may be derived from the geothermal mother fluid or from the evaporite dissolution. It is difficult to distinguish between these two sources because they may have similar hydrochemistry. In this paper, water chemistry and stable isotopes were used to explore the high salinity geothermal water in Yanchanghe geothermal field, central China. It is a low-temperature hydrothermal system in the inland karst area. The thermal water is Cl-Na type with high salinity (TDS > 8,400 mg/L). The modified silicon thermometer is more suitable and the reasonable result is about 58.8℃. The maximum circulation depth is 1.9 km. Using the temperature of hot and cold water to estimate the mixing ratio is 58%-81%. Saturation index (SI), Na/1000-K/100-Mg1/2 and Gibbs diagram suggest that the main source of salt in geothermal water is derived from the evaporite dissolution, which provides Cl- of 11,264-31,279 mg/L and Na+ of 9,272-21,236 mg/L. We found the combination of temperature and hydrogeochemistry can be used to investigate the formation mechanism and mixing process of high-salinity geothermal water formed in a karst low-temperature hydrothermal system.