GeoHint: Hydrochemical Geogenic Background Values of Sulfate

The hydrochemical composition of groundwater results from the geochemical makeup of the aquifer and from anthropogenic input.

Map of hydrochemical geogenic background values of near-surface groundwater bodies of sulfat.
Sulfate: Hydrochemical geogenic background values of near-surface groundwater bodies. Simplified after: Hobiger, G. et al. (2007)
© BMLFUW (Ed.) Hydrological Atlas of Austria

To evaluate groundwater quality and to detect possible anthropogenic contamination requires the separation of these two sources of input.

A bricklayer pan with water, plaster and trowel.
Gypsum is found in the Northern Calcareous Alps, it is used mainly in interior design.
© Geological Survey of Austria

After subtraction of the anthropogenic part, the hydrochemical content of groundwater reflects geological background levels. Naturally elevated concentrations of sulfate occur in the eastern and south-eastern parts of Austria and in the Calcareous Alps.