Physical and Chemical Characteristics of Five Hot Springs in Eritrea
Ghilamicael, Amanuel M.
Boga, Hamadi I.
Anami, Sylvester E.
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Eritrea has a number of hot springs whose physicochemical characteristics are not documented. This study examined the thermal and chemical features of five hot springs located in the eastern escarpment of Eritrea. Field data and water samples were collected from five hot springs namely; Akwar and Maiwooi near Gahtelai, Garbanabra and Gelti near Irafayle at the Gulf of Zula and Elegedi in Alid volcanic center. The water temperatures at source varied from 49.5°C to 100°C while pH levels ranged from 6.97 to 7.54. Elegedi had significantly higher temperature (p < 0.05) than the other four hot springs. Strong correlation was observed between electrical conductivity (EC), total dissolved solid (TDS), salinity, sodium, potassium, calcium and chloride (R2 > 0.9) as well as between temperature and sulphate levels (R2 = 0.96). Evident clustering was noted at p < 0.05, using Non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS), between the three locations of the hot springs. Akwar and Maiwooi, situated close to each other, clustered together, Garbanabra and Gelti, which were characterized by higher salinity levels, formed a separate cluster. Elegedi, characterized by high temperature (100°C), sulphate (979.7 mg/l) and NH4 + (196.33 mg/l) levels, clustered separately. Akwar and Maiwooi had high bicarbonate (345 mg/l and 393 mg/l) and fluoride (8.20 mg/l and 6.48 mg/l) levels which are above WHO limits. Electrical conductivity (23,133 mS/cm), total dissolved solid (15,552 mg/l), sodium (3,800 mg/l), potassium (198 mg/l), calcium (1,653 mg/l) and chloride (5,946 mg/l) levels in Garbanabra and Gelti hot springs exceeded WHO limits. Bromine (74.8 mg/l in Garbanabra and 45.2 mg/l in Gelti) and boron (2.21 mg/l in Garbanabra and 1.55 mg/l in Gelti) levels were also above standard limits set for potable water. Maiwooi (1.20) and Elegedi (1.10) were depositional while Akwar water (-0.71) was slightly corrosive. The corrosive nature of the water sample from Akwar, is a public health concern. The waters from the five Eritrean hot springs are thus not fit for human consumption. In addition, the use of thermal spring water for recreational purposes should be closely monitored.