Investigating the Characteristics and Genesis of the Groundwater Resources Associated with Oil Shale Deposits in the Azraq and Harrana Basins, Jordan

Jordan lies in the northwestern portion of the Arabian Plate. With regard to the configuration of the Arabian Plate, the structures and sedimentation were managed by tectonic evolution. Groundwater aquifers in the Upper Cretaceous and Lower Tertiary Formations are associated with large reserves of oil shale deposits in the Harrana and Azraq Basins in terms of water characteristics and hydrochemical processes. Within the Muwaqqar Chalk Marl Formation, the oil shale deposits are located. The Muwaqqar Chalk Marl Formation represents the intermediate formation between the Lower Aquifer Amman Silicified Limestone and the overload, representing Um Rijam Chalk and Wadi Shallala Chalk’s overlying Upper Aquifers. The goal of this study was to improve the understanding of the formation of Muwaqqar Chalk Marl as a sealing potential based on water quality and hydrochemical data from the various aquifers. Sixty water samples were taken from the Amman Silicified Limestone Aquifer, Muwaqqar Chalk Marl Formation High Grade Zone, and from the overburden of the aquifers Um Rijam Chalk and Wadi Shallala Chalk. The hydrochemistry of the groundwater samples collected represents a signature that reflects the sum of all the physical and chemical processes and reactions that influenced the characteristics of the water from the time of infiltration until the aquifer was reached. The assessment of the key hydrochemical processes influencing the quality of the groundwater was carried out by interpreting the ionic relations and the ionic relationships. On the water quality parameters, detailed statistical studies (Factor and Cluster Analyses) were carried out. Factor analysis can derive four variables from the parameters of the water quality of the Area-1 Harrana wells and Area-2 Azraq wells. These considerations are used to interpret the various geochemical processes influencing the quality parameters of groundwater. The Harrana wells were divided into three classes through cluster analyses. Cluster I included 26 wells with minimum mean cation and anion concentrations, while Cluster III included the wells with the maximum water quality parameter concentrations. Eight wells with intermediate concentrations were included in Cluster II. In three classes, Azraq Area-2 wells are clustered. Seven wells with the lowest water quality (highest concentrations) are included in Cluster I; 12 wells are included in Cluster II with the lowest ion concentrations; and five wells with moderate ion concentrations are included in Cluster III. The interpretation showed that dissolution procedures of the carbonate rocks containing traces of evaporative minerals, ion exchange and reversal ion exchange processes tended to be the key factors influencing the groundwater chemistry of Azraq and Harrana. In addition, the quality of water in the study areas is not adequate for drinking purposes.

Author (s) Details

Ali M. Obeidat
Department of Geology, Faculty of Graduate Studies, The University of Jordan, Jordan.

Omar Rimawi
Department of Geology, Faculty of Science, The University of Jordan, Jordan.

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