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Natural radium and radon tracers to quantify water exchange and movement in reservoirs

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Edited by: Mark Baskaran

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Abstract

Radon and radium isotopes are routinely used to quantify exchange rates between different hydrologic reservoirs. Since their recognition as oceanic tracers in the 1960s, both radon and radium have been used to examine processes such as air-sea exchange, deep oceanic mixing, benthic inputs, and many others. Recently, the application of radon-222 and the radium-quartet (223,224,226,228Ra) as coastal tracers has seen a revelation with the growing interest in coastal groundwater dynamics. The enrichment of these isotopes in benthic fluids including groundwater makes both radium and radon ideal tracers of coastal benthic processes (e.g. submarine groundwater discharge). In this chapter we review traditional and recent advances in the application of radon and radium isotopes to understand mixing and exchange between various hydrologic reservoirs, specifically: (1) atmosphere and ocean, (2) deep and shallow oceanic water masses, (3) coastal groundwater/benthic pore waters and surface ocean, and (4) aquifer-lakes. While the isotopes themselves and their distribution in the environment provide qualitative information about the exchange processes, it is mixing/exchange and transport models for these isotopes that provide specific quantitative information about these processes. Brief introductions of these models and mixing parameters are provided for both historical and more recent studies.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Natural radium and radon tracers to quantify water exchange and movement in reservoirs
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Springer
Publisher location Heidelberg [Germany]; New York
Contributing office(s) St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 21 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Title Handbook of environmental isotope geochemistry
First page 345
Last page 365
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N