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Arsenic in Geothermal Waters of Costa Rica. Studies on sources, mobility controls, and near-surface environmental impact
Costa Rica, crossed by the Central American volcanic mountain chain, is rich of geothermal resources as numerous manifestations at the earth´s surface show: geothermal springs, fumarols, gas vents, boiling mud pots, etc. The geothermal resources in depth form a huge potential for electric power generation, which is at present underused, and hence calls for further development. Additionally the geothermal surface manifestation form beautiful landscapes together with volcanoes and tropical rain forests that represents an unique example of an area with highest biodiversity and important tourist attractions in the world, and hence contribute significantly to the economic and social development of the country.
Geothermal resources related to active or inactive volcanism characterised by the presence of arsenic, whose concentration and speciation depends on the genesis of the original thermal waters in depth and are modified along its pathway up to the earth's surface due to the physico-chemical interactions between sediments or rocks with thermal waters, vapours and gases, related to volcanic activities (fumaroles, gas vents, etc.) leaving behind hydrothermal muds.
Costa Rica is an ideal study area, since here about 120 geothermal springs (mostly thermomineral waters with > 1 mg/l dissolved solids; thermal water with over 35 °C), are found within a relative small area, and since the geothermal waters are of different water type and hence of different genesis. It is expected that the results can be transferred to the other Central American countries and to other parts of the world.
The interested persons are required to have an in depth knowledge of groundwater and/or Aquatic Chemistry.
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