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Lake Tiberias: Numerical modeling of the hydraulic system explains salt concentrations and temperature

Ein natürliches thermales Becken am Tiberias-See (Foto: F. Magri, GFZ).

11.05.2015: Lake Tiberias is the most important fresh water reservoir in Israel. Along its shoreline numerous brines with enhanced temperatures discharge and thus endanger the lake. New insight into hydrological processes in the Tiberias basin may help to minimize salinisation of the lake water.

Under the guidance of Fabien Magri from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, a group of geoscientists modelled the flow path of brines and their temperatures in the underground. Flow and lift of salt water depend on temperature and salt content. Neglecting variable salt contents, numerical modeling shows that flow in combination with thermal convection facilitates uprise of warm brines along faults feeding this way the springs around the Lake. A different result is obtained, when considering different salt concentrations besides the temperature gradient. High salt contents damp the thermic lift resulting in different flow patterns.

Only with enhanced transmissivity of the faults the observed temperature of the springs are sufficiently approached. This observation backs up the hypothesis that the observed enhanced temperature gradients are probably caused by the fault system. Any improved insight into hydrological processes in the Tiberias basin may help to minimize salinisation of the lake water.

Fabien Magri et al., :”Transient simulations of large-scale hydrogeological processes causing temperature and salinity anomalies in the Tiberias Basin”, Journal of Hydrology, Vol. 520, pp. 342–355, doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2014.11.055

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