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Applications of Groundwater Helium

By:
and
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-10637-8_15

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Abstract

Helium abundance and isotope variations have widespread application in groundwater-related studies. This stems from the inert nature of this noble gas and the fact that its two isotopes ? helium-3 and helium-4 ? have distinct origins and vary widely in different terrestrial reservoirs. These attributes allow He concentrations and 3He/4He isotope ratios to be used to recognize and quantify the influence of a number of potential contributors to the total He budget of a groundwater sample. These are atmospheric components, such as air-equilibrated and air-entrained He, as well as terrigenic components, including in situ (aquifer) He, deep crustal and/or mantle He and tritiogenic 3He. Each of these components can be exploited to reveal information on a number of topics, from groundwater chronology, through degassing of the Earth?s crust to the role of faults in the transfer of mantle-derived volatiles to the surface. In this review, we present a guide to how groundwater He is collected from aquifer systems and quantitatively measured in the laboratory. We then illustrate the approach of resolving the measured He characteristics into its component structures using assumptions of endmember compositions. This is followed by a discussion of the application of groundwater He to the types of topics mentioned above using case studies from aquifers in California and Australia. Finally, we present possible future research directions involving dissolved He in groundwater.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Book chapter
Publication Subtype:
Book Chapter
Title:
Applications of Groundwater Helium
DOI:
10.1007/978-3-642-10637-8_15
Edition:
1
Year Published:
2011
Language:
English
Publisher:
Springer Isotope Handbook
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
California Water Science Center
Description:
20 p.
Larger Work Type:
Book
Larger Work Subtype:
Other Government Series
Larger Work Title:
Handbook of Environmental Isotop Geochemistry, Volume 1
First page:
285
Last page:
304
Number of Pages:
20