The hydrogeochemical evolution of the groundwater of the Tucson Basin with application to 3-dimensional groundwater flow modelling.
AuthorKalin, Robert M.
KeywordsGroundwater -- Arizona.
Groundwater flow -- Arizona -- Mathematical models.
Water chemistry -- Arizona.
Geochemistry -- Arizona.
Committee ChairLong, Austin
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis work examines the hydrogeochemical evolution of Tucson basin groundwater, including isotope hydrology, geochemistry and age determinations. Results of mineralogic investigation on basin fill were used to constrain water-rock geochemical reactions. Examination of 45 years of water quality data shows that groundwater mining has affected water quality. Stable isotopes of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, sulfur, and chlorine and radiocarbon, tritium and radon determinations refine the interpretation of hydrogeochemical evolution of Tucson basin groundwater as modelled with NETPATH. Two distinct sampling periods, the first in 1965 and the second between 1984 and 1989, resulted in the determination of groundwater ages for water mined two decades apart. Isotope hydrology and geochemical modelling suggest that much of the water presently mined from the Tucson basin has a component recharged during the last 50 years. Increased sulfate concentrations suggest that heavy pumping in the northeastern basin may have induced increased leakage from lower units. Results of geochemical modelling indicate an average of 5 percent mountain-front recharge to the Ft. Lowell Formation along the northern aquifer margin. An increase in dissolved solids along the basin margin implies that this component to recharge has increased in the past decade. The radiocarbon age of the basin groundwater was compared with the temporal movement of water as modelled with MODFLOW and PATH3D. In general, the hydrologic simulation agrees with both the distribution of tritium and the exponentially modelled water age, as determined with bomb-derived radiocarbon, for areas of the Tucson basin that contain water less than 50 years in age. Hydrologic modelling failed to predict the antiquity of recently sampled water in the central basin but is similar to age determinations on waters collected in 1965.