A hydrochemical study of the Hammam Righa geothermal waters in north-central Algeria

Mohamed Belhai, Yasuhiro Fujimitsu, Fatima Zohra Bouchareb-Haouchine, Abdelhamid Haouchine, Jun Nishijima

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14 Citations (Scopus)


This study focuses on the hydrochemical characteristics of 47 water samples collected from thermal and cold springs that emerge from the Hammam Righa geothermal field, located in north-central Algeria. The aquifer that feeds these springs is mainly situated in the deeply fractured Jurassic limestone and dolomite of the Zaccar Mount. Measured discharge temperatures of the cold waters range from 16.0 to 26.5 °C and the hot waters from 32.1 to 68.2 °C. All waters exhibited a near-neutral pH of 6.0–7.6. The thermal waters had a high total dissolved solids (TDS) content of up to 2527 mg/l, while the TDS for cold waters was 659.0–852.0 mg/l. Chemical analyses suggest that two main types of water exist: hot waters in the upflow area of the Ca–Na–SO4 type (Hammam Righa) and cold waters in the recharge zone of the Ca–Na–HCO3 type (Zaccar Mount). Reservoir temperatures were estimated using silica geothermometers and fluid/mineral equilibria at 78, 92, and 95 °C for HR4, HR2, and HR1, respectively. Stable isotopic analyses of the δ18O and δD composition of the waters suggest that the thermal waters of Hammam Righa are of meteoric origin. We conclude that meteoric recharge infiltrates through the fractured dolomitic limestones of the Zaccar Mount and is conductively heated at a depth of 2.1–2.2 km. The hot waters then interact at depth with Triassic evaporites located in the hydrothermal conduit (fault), giving rise to the Ca–Na–SO4 water type. As they ascend to the surface, the thermal waters mix with shallower Mg-rich groundwater, resulting in waters that plot in the immature water field in the Na–K–Mg diagram. The mixing trend between cold groundwaters from the recharge zone area (Zaccar Mount) and hot waters in the upflow area (Hammam Righa) is apparent via a chloride-enthalpy diagram that shows a mixing ratio of 22.6 < R < 29.2 %. We summarize these results with a geothermal conceptual model of the Hammam Righa geothermal field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-287
Number of pages17
JournalActa Geochimica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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