EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Dissolved organic matter in two thermal springs of East African rift valley

Andrea Butturini1, Peter Herzsprung2, Oliver Lechtenfeld3, Stefania Venturi4, Stefano Amalfitano5, Lydia Olaka6, Nic Pacini7, David Harper8, Franco Tassi4, and Stefano Fazi5
Andrea Butturini et al.
  • 1Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat de Biologia, Ecology, Barcelona, Spain (
  • 2Department Lake research, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Magdeburg, Germany.
  • 3Department Analytical Chemistry, Research group BioGeoOmics, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig, Germany.
  • 4Department of Earth Sciences, University of Florence, Via G. La Pira 4, 50121 Florence, Italy.
  • 5CNR – IRSA Water Research Institute, Via Salaria km 29.300 – CP10, 00015 Monterotondo, Rome, Italy.
  • 6Department of Geology, Universty of Nairobi, P.O Box 30197, Nairobi, Kenia
  • 7Department of Environmental and Chemical Engineering, University of Calabria, Rende, Cosenza, Italy.
  • 8Aquatic Ecosystem Services, Ltd., Drabblegate, Aylsham, Norfolk, United Kingdom.

Little is known about dissolved organic matter (DOM) in thermal springs. To fill this gap, this study describes the quantity, optical and molecular properties of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in two geothermal springs located in the East African rift valley a region extremely rich in geothermal phenomena such as hot springs, fumaroles, geysers and spouting springs and solfataras. The two sampled hot springs are located at the south of Elmentatia soda-saline lake and at the Ol Njorowa gorge. Results evidenced the abundance of reduced, saturated, little aromatic compounds that might reflect DOM altered by high temperature and pressure. Beside that, the two hots springs showed very clear distinctive signatures. At Ol Njorowa the most abundant molecules are oxygen poor and sulphur bearing like molecules which might reflect abiotic sulfurization from geo fluids rich in H2S. In contrast Elmentatia hot spring is characterized by abundant nitrogen bearing aliphatic and protein-like molecules probably mirroring perfusion of geo-fluids through organic rich sediments located below the Elmentaita lake bottom.

How to cite: Butturini, A., Herzsprung, P., Lechtenfeld, O., Venturi, S., Amalfitano, S., Olaka, L., Pacini, N., Harper, D., Tassi, F., and Fazi, S.: Dissolved organic matter in two thermal springs of East African rift valley, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-2586,, 2020

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