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Investigation the quantitative and qualitative situation of water resources in Karstic formations in Azna city.


Numerous springs and mirages of Lorestan province are among the natural and ecotourism cases. These spring and mirages provide favorable conditions for attracting tourists to province. There are springs and mirages in Azna city like Kamandan, snow tunnel, Takht valley and there are rare and beautiful vegetation areas around springs and mirages that provide favorable conditions during favorable seasons of year in order to attract tourists and tourism. The annual amount of water drawn from underground sources of plains through deep wells, springs and aqueducts is about 1.5 billion m3 and part of water is withdrawn through rivers and evaporation and it is estimated that about one billion m3 of water can be available through preventing water waste and new wells. In 2011, the number of wells in province was 7312 and number of aqueducts was 1490, number of springs was 6584, number of streams, water pump motor and dikes was 745, 2911 and 109, respectively and Azna city's share was approximately 1008 deep and semi-deep wells, 30 water pump motors, 2000 springs that about 30% of these springs are karstic springs[1].

Karst definition:

The term karst represents lands with geologically complex landscapes and special characteristics of landhydrology. Karstic regions are composed of soluble rocks, such as limestone, dolomite, calcium sulphate, salt and konglomerate. Features and landscapes have been shaped that have given certain specifications region due to solubility of rocks and different geological processes that have acted on geological timescales[2].

The term karst is drawn from geographical area of northwestern Slovenia, near the Italy border that is extended from Istria to Ljvbljana region. More than 700 years ago, the people of this region used Kras word and Karsu word that is Italian word, both words have Indo-European origins and (in principle) they have come from word stone. The word Kras is derived from Kar word and has changed to Karst in German.

The term karst has geomorphologic origin and if geomorphologic signs are superficial it is called Exo-karst (outside karst or karst external effects) and if they can be seen in carbonate rocks and caves, it is called Endokarst (inner side of karst or karst internal effects) [3, 4].

Study history on karst in Iran:

Studying history of research on a special subject has the ability to manifest opportunities, obstacles and limitations of that particular subject; as a result, it provides field for better studies, below are studies that have been associated with karst and water resources.

* Ghobadi et al., 2012; they recognize the importance of geomorphologic characteristics, carbonate-rock Lithology and physical recognition in order to evaluate the development of karst in Nahavand and concluded that right mix of Lithology, secondary Porosity, numerous discontinuities and frequency of karst geomorphologic phenomena in carbonate units represent the karst development in region[5].

* Heydari et al, 2012, implemented zoning of karst groundwater recharge potential to Gerborum- Firuz anticline using GIS and their studies revealed that Sarvak limestone has large karst development (area of water sinkholes) and joints and fractures in northern crest of Gerborum- Firuz anticline that constitutes high potential in area[6].

* Tahmasebi Nejadand Kaboli, 2010, evaluated the quality management of groundwater through Hydrogeochemistry assessment of karst spring in Khuzestan province and results of this study showed that carbonate dissolution has minor role in increasing the concentration of calcium of Gro Spring. Lower correlation of sodium with water chloride in wet periods depends on mixture of rain water through deep brine system[7].

* Karami et al., 2009; researchers studied on presence or absence of hydraulic communication between different parts of karstic formations and concluded that they have used type of flow, groundwater level changes and its relationship to adjacent water resources, spring changes and its relation to raining, hydro-geochemical properties of springs, temperature changes and electrical conductivity of spring water[8].

* Afrasiabian et al., 1999, implemented a semi- detailed study of karst water resources in Persian Gulf basin (west) of Lorestan province with an area of 28 thousand km2. Results of this study based on mathematical model showed that utilization of karst water resources of this basin can be increased 16.7 million m3 per year[9].

* Tarshiziyan et al, 2001, investigated part of Kashfrud basin in northeast Iran and results showed that using aerial photographs and satellite images and topographic and geological maps at various scales, karstic areas were identified and partitioned and then performing field studies and necessary sampling, geomorphic and morphological range of karst were studied in terms of water potential[10].

Need for research:

Given the importance of karst resources in country and most dried regions of country obtain their needed water from these water resources; studies on karst water resources (which have appropriate quantity and quality), have been since long prevalent in country.

Therefore, the necessity of identifying the resources and evaluating each one according to hydrological characteristics is felt due to the fact that karstic resources are of national importance and Aligoodarz city is near the arid regions of country (central region) and considering the huge range of karstic water resources in Lorestan province and Khorramabad city, annual amount of each resource.

The study area of Azna city:

Azna study area is one of the eastern areas of province that has relatively cool climate and moderate rainfall. This area has significant groundwater resources and permanent rivers due to limestone and schist heights, rain and good alluvium that are considered as Karun River branches.

Azna study area with an area of 2188 km2 is one of the study areas of Karun River basin and is located in the East Lorestan province. The area is under control of Lorestan Regional Water Company. 762 km2 of area is related to plains and 1426 km2 of area is related to highlands. The average heights of plains and highlands are 2032 and 2216 m, respectively. Figure 1 shows the location of area in Lorestan province.

Geological analysis of Azna city:

Azna city formations belong to second and fourth geological era; there are different geological formations, these formations include Asmari, Tale Zang, Sarvak, Gurpi, Mishan, Shahbazan, Pabdeh, Surmeh, Takkhane having sedimentary rocks and Marni. Formations of Amiran, Bakhtiari, and Tarbo have sandstone and conglomerate. Also, a large part of city is covered by alluvium, Figure 4.

Surface area of Azna city formations is according to table (2) and the maximum surface area is covered with alluvium and Shahbazan formation has the maximum surface area among limestone formations. Conglomerate formation has the maximum surface area among non- limestone formations. Chart 1 shows the surface area distribution of Azna city formations.

The study area is located in Lorestan province, south west of country and in foothills of Zagros Mountains. The southwest areas of Azna plain is located in Zagros zone tectonically and the north-eastern zone of is located in metamorphic zone of Sanandaj-Sirjan. This area is divided by Azna, Aligoodarz and Dorud plains and follows the general trend (North West-South East).

Zagros region and metamorphic zone of Sanandaj-Sirjan are separated each other by deep and great faults that begins from south mountains of Oshtorankooh and passing through Dorud goes to south of Borujerd city. Region located in southwestern of Fault is related to Zagros and region located in north is related to Sanandaj Sirjan Zone. The fault is called Dorud fault passes from south of study area.

Faults of study area have generally northwest to southeast direction, including:

Faults located in granitic formations of North Azna and Aligoodarz which are often as crack and create less displacement in rocky formations.

--Fault in Jurassic--Cretaceous limestone of Oshtorankooh, located in Southwest of study area and southwest mountains of Azna plain that has North West--South East directions and its length is 20 km.

--Fault in Precambrian and Permian metamorphic units, located in south-east of Azna city in SefidKuh which are thrust and has resulted in partial displacement of this area's formations. The length of this fault is 20 km. Regardless of mentioned faults, there are small faults in study area that play an important role in geological structure of area.

In study area, old faults have NW-SE directions and have operated as thrust with low-slope. Younger faults are perpendicular to old faults and have been identified as normal faults in this area.

In the study area lithological units is outcrops the second to fourth periods, which from old to new are as follows: phyllite, ouartzite, paragneiss, marble, shell, sandstone with tufa, volcanic rocks, crystalline limestone locally with fosolina, metamorphic volcanic and tufa, cherty limestone, phyllite, metamorphic quartzarenite, micaschist, metadolomite, amphibolite, limestone, shale and sandstone, schist hornfels, orthogneiss, granodiorite, oput rock, shale and phyllite sandstone, granite, granodiorite, diorite, dolomitic lime, radiolarit breccia, rodist lime, orbitoline, radiolarat, black and blue marl with limestone, alluvium. Alluvium of quaternary period consisting of sand, clay, silt and gravel covered the surface of the plain. Table 1 shows a summary of stratigraphy and the area of each lithological units, which outcrops in the study area. Figure 2 shows the regional geology.

Azna city Goundwater:

There aquifer of study area is free and most of wells of study area are located in alluvial and free aquifer. There are 2 Plains of Azna- Aligoodarz are located in north - south areas and ChamanSoltan plain. Ground water aquifer is made in Azna-Aligoodarz plain and its boundary is determined using piezometeric wells and exploitation and geology of region. Figure 3 provides the location of aquifer (Lorestan Regional Water Company).


In this study, direct and computer analysis methods were used according to aim and the quality and quantity of formations' discharge were evaluated using statistics of karstic formation springs obtained from Lorestan Regional Water Company. Entering raw data into statistical excell software mean, minimum and maximum data and corresponding graphs were plotted. Surface area of each karstic formation was calculated using arcgis 9.3 software, also, in this study, the library and field methods have been used (Information from archives and libraries of universities close to investigation place, the information contained in various departments such as Lorestan Regional Water Company, Lorestan province WWC, Meteorological Organization, etc.) and tools such as interviews with experts, local questionnaires and field observations have been used, in addition, various scientific articles on internet and scientific sites have been used.

Karstic formations of Azna city:

Azna city formations belong to second and fourth geological era; there are different geological formations, these formations include Asmari, Tale Zang, Sarvak, Gurpi, Mishan, Shahbazan, Pabdeh, Surmeh, Takkhane having sedimentary rocks and Marni. Formations of Amiran, Bakhtiari, and Tarbo have sandstone and conglomerate. Also, a large part of city is covered by alluvium, Figure 4.

Surface area of Azna city formations is according to table (2) and the maximum surface area is covered with alluvium and Shahbazan formation has the maximum surface area among limestone formations. Conglomerate formation has the maximum surface area among non- limestone formations. Chart 1 shows the surface area distribution of Azna city formations.

Studying quality and quantity of water resources of Azna city karstic formations Quantitative analysis:

According to statistics from Lorestan Regional Water Company, and results of annual outflow of each karstic formation and the maximum and minimum annual discharge flow of these are given in m3 (Table 3) and graphic comparison of annual discharge of water from these formations is shown curve (2) (Regional Water of province).

Qualitative analysis:

Qualitative analysis of water resources is done based on statistics from Lorestan Regional Water Company in 232 karstic formations of Sarvak and Fahliyan in Table (4) based on usage of water resources in various applications and Table (5) shows the minimum, maximum and mean temperature, EC and PH of different karstic springs of city (Lorestan Regional Water Company).


In Azna city, 232 springs in 2 karstic formations of Sarvak and Fahliyan were examined. Fahliyan formation is unique for this city and was not observed in other parts of province. In Azna city, Sarvak formation obtained first place with 205 springs and annual outflow of 15,748,448 m3 and Fahliyan formation obtained second place with 27 springs and annual outflow of 7,379,424 in terms of water resource quantity. Formations were analyzed qualitatively in terms of quality with regard to the use of water resources, for example Fahliyan formation had 35% and Sarvak formation had 9 percent usage in terms of urban and rural drinking but Sarvak formation had 80 and Fahliyan formation had 25 % usage in the field of agriculture. Tables (6, 7) show other characteristics of these formations such as water temperature, EC and PH.


Conclusion of this study suggests that Karstic formations have important roles in producing water resources of modern societies and we can exploit and plan them more systematically and precisely through monitoring and evaluating data of springs and wells of these formations over the years.


Article history:

Received 12 November 2014

Received in revised form 31 December 2014

Accepted 22 January 2015

Available online 25 February 2015


[1] Lorestan Regional Water Company, 2013. Lorestan. Iran.

[2] Kardovani, P., 2005. Aquatic ecosystems. Science Press. Tehran. Iran.

[3] Ahmdi, H., 2007. Applied Geomorphology: Water Erosion, Tehran University Press. Tehran. Iran.

[4] Rahnamai, M., 2006. Geological engineering in karst. Publisher: Andisheh. Tehran. Iran.

[5] Ghobadi, M., L. Abdi and Y. Mohebi, 2012. Importance of determining geomorphologic characteristics, lithology and physical of carbonate rocks to assess the development of karst in Nahavand. The Journal of Geology, 7(4): 310-299. In Persian.

[6] Heydari, H., M. Zare and M. Haji-Ketabi, 2012. The zoning in the karst groundwater recharge potential in Firouz anticline by using GIS. Congress of Geological Society. Tehran. Iran.

[7] TahmasebiNejad, H. and A. Kaboli, 2010. Management of groundwater quality by a geochemical evaluation in karst spring. Tenth Seminar in Irrigation and Reduce Evaporation. Tehran. Iran.

[8] Karami, G., A. Rajai and M.K. Neistani, 2009. Hydrogeological and geochemical studies in the karst formations sealing. The Third Conference on Water Resources Management. Tehran. Iran.

[9] Afrasiabian, A., 1999. Evaluation of calcareous formations Persian Gulf basin, First International Symposium of Karst Water Resources, Ministry of Energy.

[10] Tarshiziyan, H., R. Mousavi and M. Najmi, 2001. Geomorphic study in Karst water and water potential in hard range formations in Mashhad--Chenaran. Fourth Meeting of the Geological Society. Tehran. Iran.

(1) Mehdi Hashemi and (2) Habib Imani Rad

(1) Department of Geology, Payame Noor University, PO BOX 19395-3697, Tehran, Iran.

(2) MSc in Underground Water, Water Resources Bureau, Aligoodarz, Iran.

Corresponding Author: Mehdi Hashemi, Department of Geology, Payame Noor University, PO BOX 19395-3697, Tehran, Iran.

Table 1: Outcrop area of lithological units in the
study area - Azna (in order of size)

Name of rock unit and stratigraphic       Highlight   Area
characteristics                           on Map      ([Km.sup.2])

Shale and phyllite sandstone              Jph         77.50
Dolomitic limestone                       JK          32.20
Limestone                                 Km          24.40
Granite - granodiorite and diorite        G           20.90
Radiolarit breccia                        Jkr         12.90
Granodiorite                              Gd          10.70
Aurtugnays                                Gn          8.70
Black and blue marl with limestone        Ol          7.20
Schist hornfels                           H           5.80
Mica schist, marble, dolomite methane,    Pemt        4.90
Marble                                    Mtm         4.30
Output rocks                              Jn          2.91
Not discriminate sediments marl,          M           2.90
  sandstone, limestone,
Not hard conglomerate derived from the    Qc1         2.81
  Bakhtiari conglomerate
Argillaceous limestone                    EL          2.50
Shale and sandstone                       Js          2.40
Crystalline limestone, locally            P           1.90
Marl and shale                            Kms         1.5
Cherty limestone, phyllite,               TRLu        1.4

  metamorphic quartzarenite
Metamorphic volcanic and tufa             TRmv        0.79
Radiolarat                                R           0.63
Shale and sandstone with tufa and         Pv          0.53
  volcanic rocks
Phyllite, quartzite and Paragnays         Mpt         0.45
Orbitolinel                               Kml         0.35
Alluvium                                  Q           0.04
Orbitolinel and rudists lime              Kl          0.037

Table 2: Area of geological formations in Azna city

Formation    Area     Formation    Area     Formation
name         (ha)     name         (ha)     name

Amiran       752      Gurpi        29991    KhaneTak
Bakhtiari    69604    Alluvium     10523    Sarvak
Zardkooh     182      Asmari       27900    Surmeh
Shahbazan    46035    Amiran       60814    Fahliyan
Meishan      3129     Bangestan    94055    Lavan
Neyriz       384      TalehZang    661      Meishan
Pabdeh       4349     Khami        398      Neyriz

Formation    Area     Formation    Area
name         (ha)     name         (ha)

Amiran       1223     Pabdeh       13375
Bakhtiari    363      Garo         21231
Zardkooh     2321     Gurpi        23963
Shahbazan    19202    Gachsaran    120
Meishan      2345
Neyriz       24769
Pabdeh       811

Table 3: Quantitative analysis of karstic formations
of water resources in Azna city

Formations    The minimum      The maximum
              flow rate (m3)   flow rate (m3)

Sarvak        6307             1576800

Fahlian       63072            630720

Formations    Total annual discharge   Number
              of formation             of springs

Sarvak        15748448                 205

Fahlian       7379424                  27

Table 4: The quality percentage of the water resources
in karstic formations in various uses

Formations                Sarvak    Fahliyan

Agriculture               80        60
Green space               0         0
Medication                0         0
Greenhouse                0         0
Birds                     5         6
Urban                     7         16
Consumption of Services   0         0
Packing                   0         0
Village Drinking          4         20
Consumption of industry   0         0
Haywire                   1         0
Aquaculture               3         4
Total                     100       100

Table 5: The minimum, maximum and mean temperature, EC and
PH of spring' skarstic formations in Azna city

Temperature                 EC

Minimum    Maximum   Mean   Minimum   Maximum   Mean

5          29        17     135       1350      531
13         14        13     495       504       499


Minimum   Maximum   Mean   Formations

6         9         8      Sarvak
8         9         8      Fahliyan

Fig. 5: The distribution area of geological formations in Azna city

Amiran       752

Bakhtiari    69604

Zardkooh     182

Shahbazan    46035

Meishan      3129

Neyriz       384

Pabdeh       4349

Gurpi        29991

Allivium     10523

Asmari       27900

Amiran       60814

Bangestan    94055

Taleh Zang   661

Khami        398

Khane Tak    1223

Sarvak       363

Surmeh       2321

Fahlian      19202

Lavan        2345

Meishan      24769

Neyriz       811

Pabdeh       13375

Garo         21231

Gurpi        23963

Gachsaran    120

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Fig. 6: Quantitative comparison of annual discharge of water
resources in the karstic formations in Azna city

Sarvak         15748448

Falilian       7379424

Note: Table made from bar graph.
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Author:Hashemi, Mehdi; Rad, Habib Imani
Publication:Advances in Environmental Biology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Feb 1, 2015
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