Geochemical reaction models were evaluated to improve radiocarbon dating of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) in groundwater from confined parts of the Upper Floridan aquifer in central and northeastern Florida, USA. The predominant geochemical reactions affecting the 14C activity of DIC include (1) dissolution of dolomite and anhydrite with calcite precipitation (dedolomitization), (2) sulfate reduction accompanying microbial degradation of organic carbon, (3) recrystallization of calcite (isotopic exchange), and (4) mixing of fresh water with as much as 7% saline water in some coastal areas. The calculated cumulative net mineral transfers are negligibly small in upgradient parts of the aquifer and increase significantly in downgradient parts of the aquifer, reflecting, at least in part, upward leakage from the Lower Floridan aquifer and circulation that contacted middle confining units in the Floridan aquifer system. The adjusted radiocarbon ages are independent of flow path and represent travel times of water from the recharge area to the sample point in the aquifer. Downgradient from Polk City (adjusted age 1.7 ka) and Keystone Heights (adjusted age 0.4 ka), 14 of the 22 waters have adjusted 14C ages of 20-30 ka, indicating that most of the fresh-water resource in the Upper Floridan aquifer today was recharged during the last glacial period. All of the paleowaters are enriched in 18O and 2H relative to modern infiltration, with maximum enrichment in ??18O of approximately 2.0%o.
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Radiocarbon dating of dissolved inorganic carbon in groundwater from confined parts of the Upper Floridan aquifer, Florida, USA