The Silver Springs Group, Florida (USA), forms the headwaters of the Silver River and supports a diverse ecosystem. The 30 headwater springs divide into five subgroups based on chemistry. Five selected spring vents were sampled in 2007 to better understand the contaminant sources and groundwater flow system. Elevated nitrate-N concentrations (>0.8mg/L) in the five spring vents likely originate from inorganic (fertilizers) and organic sources, based on nitrogen and oxygen isotope ratios of nitrate. Evidence for denitrification in the Lost River Boil spring includes enriched ??15N and ??18O, excess N2 gas, and low dissolved O2 concentrations (<0.5mg/L). Multiple age-tracer data (SF6, 3H, tritiogenic 3He) for the two uppermost springs (Mammoth East and Mammoth West) indicate a binary mixture dominated by recent recharge water (mean age 6-7 years, and 87-97% young water). Tracer data for the three downstream spring vents (Lost River Boil, Catfish Hotel-1, and Catfish Conventional Hall-1) indicate exponential mixtures with mean ages of 26-35 years. Contamination from non-atmospheric sources of CFCs and SF5CF3 precluded their use as age tracers here. Variations in chemistry were consistent with mean groundwater age, as nitrate-N and dissolved O2 concentrations were higher in younger waters, and the Ca/Mg ratio decreased with increasing mean age. ?? 2010 Springer-Verlag (outside the USA).
Additional publication details
Using multiple chemical indicators to characterize and determine the age of groundwater from selected vents of the silver springs group, Central Florida, USA