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Title: Radioacarbon in dissolved organic carbon, a possible groundwater dating method: Case studies from western Canada

Abstract

This paper explores the feasibility of using {sup 14}C in dissolved organic carbon (DOC) as an alternative isotopic groundwater dating method. Two hydrogeologically contrasting groundwater systems were tested; the Cretaceous age Milk River aquifer, and low-permeability, organic rich, Wisconsinan age Prairie tills in southern Alberta, Canada. Comparisons of radiocarbon data were made between DOC fractions, dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), and several DIC geochemical age correction models along well defined flow paths. The data presented demonstrate that {sup 14}C dating of DOC fractions can indeed provide an alternative method for determining isotopic groundwater ages, under suitable conditions. However, detailed information may be required regarding (1) the geologic nature of the aquifer and its flow system, (2) the isotopically conservative behavior of DOC, (3) the initial {sup 14}C activity of DOC in recharge, and (4) the effect of bacterial redox processes on the {sup 14}C activity of DOC. In the Milk River aquifer, DOC {sup 14}C ages were successfully used to estimate groundwater residence times, as well as to further refine input parameter assumptions for the DIC method. In the Prairie tills, DOC {sup 14}C ages were used to establish a maximum age for the pore waters in an environment where themore » DIC method is especially problematic.« less

Authors:
;  [1];  [2];  [3]
  1. Univ. of Waterloo, Ontario (Canada)
  2. National Hydrology Research Inst., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (Canada)
  3. Gesellschaft fuer Strahlen- und Umweltforschung mbH Muenchen, Neuherberg (West Germany)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
5946545
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Water Resources Research; (United States)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 27:8; Journal ID: ISSN 0043-1397
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; AQUIFERS; ROCK-FLUID INTERACTIONS; GROUND WATER; ISOTOPE DATING; ALBERTA; CARBON 14; CRETACEOUS PERIOD; GEOCHEMISTRY; GEOLOGIC FORMATIONS; ISOTOPIC EXCHANGE; MORAINES; RELIABILITY; TRACER TECHNIQUES; AGE ESTIMATION; BETA DECAY RADIOISOTOPES; BETA-MINUS DECAY RADIOISOTOPES; CANADA; CARBON ISOTOPES; CHEMISTRY; DEVELOPED COUNTRIES; EVEN-EVEN NUCLEI; GEOLOGIC AGES; GEOLOGIC DEPOSITS; HYDROGEN COMPOUNDS; ISOTOPE APPLICATIONS; ISOTOPES; LIGHT NUCLEI; MESOZOIC ERA; NORTH AMERICA; NUCLEI; OXYGEN COMPOUNDS; RADIOISOTOPES; WATER; YEARS LIVING RADIOISOTOPES; 540220* - Environment, Terrestrial- Chemicals Monitoring & Transport- (1990-)

Citation Formats

Wassenaar, L, Aravena, R, Hendry, J, and Fritz, P. Radioacarbon in dissolved organic carbon, a possible groundwater dating method: Case studies from western Canada. United States: N. p., 1991. Web. doi:10.1029/91WR00504.
Wassenaar, L, Aravena, R, Hendry, J, & Fritz, P. Radioacarbon in dissolved organic carbon, a possible groundwater dating method: Case studies from western Canada. United States. https://doi.org/10.1029/91WR00504
Wassenaar, L, Aravena, R, Hendry, J, and Fritz, P. 1991. "Radioacarbon in dissolved organic carbon, a possible groundwater dating method: Case studies from western Canada". United States. https://doi.org/10.1029/91WR00504.
@article{osti_5946545,
title = {Radioacarbon in dissolved organic carbon, a possible groundwater dating method: Case studies from western Canada},
author = {Wassenaar, L and Aravena, R and Hendry, J and Fritz, P},
abstractNote = {This paper explores the feasibility of using {sup 14}C in dissolved organic carbon (DOC) as an alternative isotopic groundwater dating method. Two hydrogeologically contrasting groundwater systems were tested; the Cretaceous age Milk River aquifer, and low-permeability, organic rich, Wisconsinan age Prairie tills in southern Alberta, Canada. Comparisons of radiocarbon data were made between DOC fractions, dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), and several DIC geochemical age correction models along well defined flow paths. The data presented demonstrate that {sup 14}C dating of DOC fractions can indeed provide an alternative method for determining isotopic groundwater ages, under suitable conditions. However, detailed information may be required regarding (1) the geologic nature of the aquifer and its flow system, (2) the isotopically conservative behavior of DOC, (3) the initial {sup 14}C activity of DOC in recharge, and (4) the effect of bacterial redox processes on the {sup 14}C activity of DOC. In the Milk River aquifer, DOC {sup 14}C ages were successfully used to estimate groundwater residence times, as well as to further refine input parameter assumptions for the DIC method. In the Prairie tills, DOC {sup 14}C ages were used to establish a maximum age for the pore waters in an environment where the DIC method is especially problematic.},
doi = {10.1029/91WR00504},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/5946545}, journal = {Water Resources Research; (United States)},
issn = {0043-1397},
number = ,
volume = 27:8,
place = {United States},
year = {1991},
month = {8}
}