Hydrochemistry of Groundwaters within the Rock Quarrying Districts of Western Oban Massif, Southeastern Nigeria

IJEP 43(2): 108-118 : Vol. 43 Issue. 2 (February 2023)

Azubuike S. Ekwere and Bernard B. Edet

University of Calabar, Department of Geology, Calabar South – 540 281, Cross River, Nigeria


A hydrochemical assessment of groundwater within quarrying districts within the Precambrian basement of the Oban Massif, southeastern Nigeria, was carried out to establish possible temporal variations and impacts of rock quarrying. To characterize the waters, major ions and selected metals were analyzed. Ca>Mg>Na>K and Cl>HCO3>SO4>NO3 as abundance trends for major cations and anions in groundwaters were discovered. For the selected metals, Ni>Fe>Mn>Zn>Cu>Pb>Cd>Cr>As was the order of abundance in the groundwater. The chemical abundance orders were the same across all quarrying zones. Principal component, correlation and factor analyses revealed that the inter-relationship between parameters was primarily controlled by geogenic processes, such as weathering, mineral dissolution and water mixing. Ionic cross-plots confirmed the geogenic sourcing of ions. The groundwater was potable with two hydrochemical facies: Ca-Mg-Cl-SO4 and Ca-Mg-HCO3. Water quality for agricultural usability was estimated using sodium adsorption ratio (SAR), sodium percentage (% Na) and chloro-alkaline indices (CAI). Results indicated the waters were suitable for agricultural use. Quarrying-related, domestic and agricultural activities were identified as the least significant anthropogenic contributors to ionic species in groundwater. Higher means and a wider range of major ions and metals were reported in the older quarrying districts, with non-significant variation from concentrations in the younger quarries. However, ionic and metallic species concentrations in waters within quarrying districts suggest that quarrying longevity, operations, geology and environmental conditions influence the rates of mineral species dissolubility, mobility and distribution within the study area’s groundwaters, even though they are currently well within acceptable limits.


Hydrogeochemistry, rock weathering, quarrying, metallic species, enrichment, basement, Nigeria


  1. Misra, A.K. 2013. Influence of stone quarries on groundwater quality and health in Fatehpur Sikri, India. Int. J. Sustain. Built Env., 2(1):73-88.
  2. Niak, D., P. Ushamalini and K.R. Somashekar. 2014. Groundwater quality evaluation in a stone quarry area. J. Ind. Poll. Cont.
  3. Adamu, C.I., T.N. Nganje and A.E. Edet. 2015. Heavy metal contamination and health risk assessment associated with abandoned barite mines in Cross River state, southeastern Nigeria. Env. Nanotech. Monit. Manage., 3:10-21.
  4. Ekwere, A.S. and B.B. Edet. 2021. Temporal variations of heavy metals in sediments, soil and dust particulates across the rock quarrying districts of the Oban Massif, southeastern Nigeria. Env. Nanotech. Monit. Manage., 15:100431.
  5. Gunn, J. and S.L. Hobbs. 1999. Limestone quarrying hydrogeological impacts, consequences, implications. In Karst hydrology and human activities-Impacts, consequences and implications. Ed David Drew and Heinz Hotzl. CRC Press. pp 192-201.
  6. Nagaraju, A., et al. 2006. Hydrogeochemistry of waters of Mangampeta barite mining area, Cuddapah basin, Andhra Pradesh, India. Turkish J. Eng. Env. Sci., 30:203-219.
  7. Ekwere, A.S. and A.E. Edet. 2012a. Trace metals in ground and surface waters of the Oban Massif area, southeastern Nigeria. Adv. Appl. Sci. Res., 3(1):312-318.
  8. Ekwere, A.S., A.E. Edet and S.J. Ekwere. 2012. Groundwater chemistry of the Oban Massif, southeastern Nigeria. Ambiente-Agua Taubate. 7(1):51-66.
  9. De Caritat, P., et al. 2004. Groundwater in Broken Hill region, Australia : Recognizing interaction with bedrock and mineralization using S, Sr and Pb isotopes. Appl. Geochem., 20:767-787.
  10. Ekwere, A.C. and A.E. Edet. 2012b. Hydrogeo-chemical signatures of different aquifer layers in the crystalline basement of Oban area (SE Nigeria). J. Geogr. Geol., 4(1):90-102.
  11. Ekwere, A.C. and A.E. Edet. 2012c. Distribution and chemical speciation of some elements in the groundwater of Oban area, southeastern Nigeria. Res. J. Env. Earth Sci., 4(3):207-214.
  12. Chitrakshi and A.K. Haritash. 2018. Hydrogeochemical characterization and suitability appraisal of groundwater around stone quarries in Mahe-ndragarh, India. Env. Earth Sci., 77:252. DOI: 10.1007/s12665-018-7431-5.
  13. Vandana, M., et al. 2020. Environmental impact of quarrying of building stones and laterite blocks : A comparative study of two river basins in southern Western ghats, India. Env. Earth Sci., 79:366.
  14. Darwish, T., et al. 2011. Environmental impact of quarries on natural resource in Lebanon. Land Degrad. Develop., 25:345-358.
  15. Gunn, J. and D. Bailey. 1993. Limestone quarrying and quarry reclamation in Britain. Env. Geol., 21:167-172.
  16. Wu, F.Y., et al. 2011. Geochronology of the phanerozoic granitoids in northeastern China. J. Asian Earth Sci., 41(1):1-30.
  17. Edet, A.E. and C.S. Okereke. 1997. Assessment of hydrogeological conditions in basement aquifers of precambrian Oban Massif, southeastern Nigeria. J. Appl. Geophysics. 36:195-204.
  18. Ekwueme, B.N. 1987. Structural orientations and precambrian deformational episodes of Uwet area, Oban Massif, southeastern Nigeria. Precambrian Res., 34:269-289.
  19. Oden, M.I., T.A. Okpamu and F.A. Amah. 2012. Comparative analysis of fracture lineaments in Oban and Obudu areas, SE Nigeria. J. Geogr. Geol., 4(2):36-47.
  20. Edet, B.B. 2019. Environmental geochemical assessment of the quarrying districts in western Oban Massif, southeastern Nigeria. M.Sc. Thesis. Department of Geology, University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria.
  21. Okereke, C.S., E.O. Esu and A.E. Edet. 1998. Determination of potential groundwater sites using geological and geophysical techniques in the Cross River state, southeastern Nigeria. J. African Earth Sci., 27(1):149-163.
  22. Ekwere, A.S. 2012. Hydrogeochemical framework of the Oban Massif, southeastern Nigeria: A baseline for hydrogeochemical assessment and monitoring. Lambert Academic Publishing (LAP), GmbH, Germany.
  23. Ekwere, A. S. and A. Edet. 2015. Vulnerability assessment of aquifers within the Oban Massif, southeastern Nigeria, using DRASTIC method. Int. J. Sci. Eng. Res., 6(10):1123-1136.
  24. Ekwere, A.S. and A. Edet. 2017. A comparative assessment of vulnerability of the Oban Massif aquifer system, SE Nigeria using DRASTIC, GOD and AVI models. Int. J. Sci. Eng. Investigations. 6(68):39-45.
  25. Ademorati, C.M.A. 1996. Environmental chemistry and toxicology. Foludex Press, Ibadan, Nigeria.
  26. Matthess, G. 1982. The properties of groundwater. Wiley, New York.
  27. Paerl, H.W., et al. 1999. Rainfall stimulation of primary production in western Atlantic Ocean waters : Roles of different nitrogen sources and co-limiting nutrients. Marine Ecol. Progress Series. 176:205-212.
  28. Langmuir, D. 1997. Aqueous environmental geo-chemistry. Prentice Hall, Inc., New Jersey.
  29. Ettazarini, S. 2005. Processes of water-rock interaction in the Turonian aquifer of Oum Er-Rabia basin, Morocco. Env. Geol., 49:293-299.
  30. Michard, G., F. J. Pearson Jr. and A. Gautschi. 1996. Chemical evolution of waters during long term interaction with granitic rocks in northern Switzerland. Appl. Geochem., 11:757-774.
  31. Pearson Jr., F. J., J.L. Lolcama and A. Scholtis. 1989. Chemistry of waters in the Bottsien, weiach, Riniken, Schafisheim, Kaisten and Leugern boreholes : A hydrochemically consistent dataset. Int. Nuclear Inf. System. 21(12).
  32. Singh, A.K., et al. 2005. Hydrochemistry of reservoirs of Damodar river basin, India: Weathering processes and water quality assessment. Env. Geol., 48:1014-1028.
  33. Demile, M., et al. 2007. Groundwater recharge, flow and hydrogeochemical evolution in a complex volcanic aquifer system, Central Ethiopia. Hydro-geol. J., 15:1169-1181.
  34. WHO. 2008. Guidelines for drinking water quality: Incorporating 1st and 2nd agenda (3rd edn). Vol 1: Recommendations. World Health Organization, Geneva.
  35. Chang, J. and G. Wang. 2010. Major ions chemistry of groundwater in the arid region of Zhangve basin, northwestern China. Env. Earth Sci., 61:539-547.
  36. Turekian, K.K. 1977. The fate of metals in the oceans. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta. 41(8):1139.
  37. Edet, A.E., B.J. Merkel and O.E. Offiong. 2003. Trace element hydrochemical assessment of the Calabar coastal plain aquifer, Southeast Nigeria using statistical methods. Env. Geol., 44:137-149.
  38. Siegel, F.R. 2002. Environmental geochemistry of potentially toxic metals. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg, New York. DOI:10.1007/978-3-662-04739-2.
  39. Zhu, G.F., H.Y. Su and Q. Feng. 2008. The hydro-chemical characteristics and evolution of groundwater and surface water in the Heihe river basin, northwest China. Hydrogeol. J., 16:167-18.
  40. Wen, X.H., Y.Q. Wu and J. Wu. 2008. Hydroche-mical characteristics of groundwater in the Zhangye basin, northwestern China. Env. Geol., 55:1713-1724.
  41. Narayanan, P. 2007. Environmental pollution : Principles, analysis and control. LBs Publishers and Distribution, New Delhi, India.
  42. Edet, A.E. and C.S. Okereke. 2014. Hydrogeologic framework of the shallow aquifers in the Ikom-Mamfe Embayment, Nigeria using an integrated approach. J. African Earth Sci., 92:25-44.
  43. Tijani, M.N. 1994. Hydrochemical assessment of groundwater in Moro area, Kwara state, Nigeria. Env. Geol., 24:194-202.