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Noble gases, stable isotopes, and radiocarbon as tracers of flow in the Dakota aquifer, Colorado and Kansas

Journal of Hydrology

By:
, , , and
DOI: 10.1016/S0022-1694(98)00233-9

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Abstract

A suite of chemical and isotope tracers (dissolved noble gases, stable isotopes of water, radiocarbon, and CI) have been analyzed along a flow path in the Dakota aquifer system to determine likely recharge sources, ground water residence times, and the extent of mixing between local and intermediate flow systems, presumably caused by large well screens. Three water types were distinguished with the tracers, each having a very different history. Two of the water types were found in south-eastern Colorado where the Dakota is poorly confined. The tracer data suggest that the first group recharged locally during the last few thousand years and the second group was composed of ground water that recharged earlier during a cooler climate, presumably during the last glacial period (LGP) and mixed aged water. The paleotemperature record archived in this groundwater system indicates that south-eastern Colorado was about 5??C cooler during the LGP than during the late Holocene. Similar temperature changes derived from dissolved noble gases in other aquifer systems have been reported earlier for the south-western United States. The third water type was located down gradient of the first two in the confined Dakota in western and central Kansas. Groundwater residence time of this water mass is on the order of 104-105 yrs and its recharge location is near the Colorado and Kansas border down gradient of the other water types. The study shows the importance of using multiple tracers when investigating ground water systems.A suite of chemical and isotope tracers (dissolved noble gases, stable isotopes of water, radiocarbon, and CL) were analyzed along a flow path in the Dakota aquifer system to determine likely recharge sources, ground water residence times, and the extent of mixing between local and intermediate flow systems. Three water types were distinguished with the tracers, each having a very different history. Two of the water types were located in south-eastern Colorado where the Dakota is poorly confined. The third water type was located down gradient of the first two in the confined Dakota in western and central Kansas.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Noble gases, stable isotopes, and radiocarbon as tracers of flow in the Dakota aquifer, Colorado and Kansas
Series title:
Journal of Hydrology
DOI:
10.1016/S0022-1694(98)00233-9
Volume
211
Issue:
1-4
Year Published:
1998
Language:
English
Publisher:
Elsevier Sci B.V.
Publisher location:
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Hydrology
First page:
151
Last page:
167
Number of Pages:
17