Boron, chloride, sulfate, ??D, ??18O, and 3H concentrations in surface water and groundwater samples from the Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine (SBMM), California, USA were used to examine geochemical processes and provide constraints on evaporation and groundwater flow. SBMM is an abandoned sulfur and mercury mine with an underlying hydrothermal system, adjacent to Clear Lake, California. Results for non-3H tracers (i.e., boron, chloride, sulfate, ??D, and ??18O) identify contributions from six water types at SBMM. Processes including evaporation, mixing, hydrothermal water input and possible isotopic exchange with hydrothermal gases are also discerned. Tritium data indicate that hydrothermal waters and other deep groundwaters are likely pre-bomb (before ???1952) in age while most other waters were recharged after ???1990. A boron-based steady-state reservoir model of the Herman Impoundment pit lake indicates that 71-79% of its input is from meteoric water with the remainder from hydrothermal contributions. Results for groundwater samples from six shallow wells over a 6-month period for ??D and ??18O suggests that water from Herman Impoundment is diluted another 3% to more than 40% by infiltrating meteoric water, as it leaves the site. Results for this investigation show that environmental tracers are an effective tool to understand the SBMM hydrogeologic regime. ?? Springer-Verlag 2007.
Additional publication details
Application of environmental groundwater tracers at the Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine, California, USA