APPLICATION OF STABLE ISOTOPES OF OXYGEN, HYDROGEN, AND CARBON TO HYDROGEOCHEMICAL STUDIES, WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO CANADA DEL ORO VALLEY AND THE TUCSON BASIN (GEOCHEMISTRY, ISOTOPE, CARBON-14).
KeywordsGeochemistry -- Data processing.
Geochemistry -- Arizona -- Tucson Region -- Data processing.
Geochemistry -- Arizona -- Pima County -- Data processing.
Hydrogeology -- Data processing.
Isotope geology -- Data processing.
Isotope geology -- Arizona -- Tucson Region -- Data processing.
Isotope geology -- Arizona -- Pima County -- Data processing.
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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.
AbstractHydrogeochemical studies are generally qualitative in nature. The goal of this study is to investigate the possibility of quantitative interpretation of hydrogeochemistry by considering the chemical characteristics and the isotopic compositions of oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon of the water. This study examines ephemeral stream and well waters from Canada del Oro valley, southern Arizona. By chemical and isotopic considerations, this study finds that the change of chemical composition of the wash water was mainly due to water-rock interaction. The concentrations of dissolved constituents increase between 10 to 50% from upstream to downstream samples, while the evaporation loss of water is less than 3%. By chemical and isotopic considerations of the well waters, this study identifies three recharge waters in the CDO ground-water system. The chemical and water isotopic compositions of the well waters are results of mixing between these three recharge waters and subsequent dissolution of the aquifer. By thermodynamic consideration, albite, kaolinite, montmorillonite, and calcite are the main phases that influence the chemical characteristics of this ground-water system. Simulations with the computer program PHREEQE verifies the above conclusions. The mechanisms that influence the chemical and carbon isotopic compositions of the water are quite different in a system open to a CO2 gas reservoir than in a closed system. Deines, Langmuir, and Harmon (1974) derived a set of chemical-isotopic equations to calculate the carbon isotopic composition of water under open system condition. Wigley, Plummer, and Pearson (1978) formulated a mass transfer equation to calculate the change of carbon isotopic composition of natural water in closed system environment. This study implements these two type of equations as a subroutine--CSOTOP to the computer program PHREEQE. With this PHREEQE-CSOTOP package, the evolution of carbon chemical and isotopic composition of natural water can be conveniently modeled from open to closed system conditions. This study also uses this package to date water samples from the Tucson basin, and finds that choice of reaction path may cause a difference in carbon-14 age of up to a few thousand years. This study concludes that it is possible to rigorously interpret hydrogeochemistry in a quantitative way. With sufficient measurements to define the reaction path, followed by thermodynamic consideration, chemical-isotopic evaluation, and computer modeling, one should be able to achieve this goal.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Arizona
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Late Quaternary paleohydrology and surficial processes of the Atacama Desert, Chile: Evidence from wetland deposits and stable isotopes of soil saltsRech, Jason Arnold (The University of Arizona., 2001)The origin of pedogenic salts in the Atacama Desert has long been debated. Possible salt sources include in situ weathering at the soil site, local sources such as aerosols from the adjacent Pacific Ocean or salt-encrusted playas, and extra-local atmospheric dust. To identify the origin of Ca and S in Atacama soil salts, we determined δ ³⁴S and ⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr values of soil gypsum/anhydrite and ⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr values of calcium carbonate along three east-west trending transects in the Atacama. Our results demonstrate the strong influence of marine aerosols on soil gypsum/anhydrite development in areas where marine fog penetrates inland. In areas where the Coastal Cordillera is >1200 m, however, coastal fog cannot penetrate inland and the contribution of marine aerosols to soils is greatly reduced. Salts in inland soils appear to originate from eolian redistribution of playa salts that are precipitated from evaporated ground water. This ground water has acquired its dissolved solids from water-rock interactions (both thermal and low-temperature) along flowpaths from recharge areas in the Andes. The spatial distribution of high-grade nitrate deposits appears to correspond with areas that receive the lowest fluxes of local dust, supporting arguments for an atmospheric source of nitrate. Ground water in the Atacama is derived from precipitation in the High Andes (>3500 m) that infiltrates soils and then flows down the Pacific slope of the Andes to feed aquifers within the hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert. At many locations, ground water surfaces and creates springs, marshes, and wetlands. In order to track late Quaternary fluctuations in ground-water recharge, paleowetland deposits at eight separate locations (between 18°-26°S) were mapped and dated. Over 200 AMS ¹⁴C dates on a variety of materials provide firm age control on these deposits. Replication of time-stratigraphic units from an assortment of hydrologic settings and varying distances from recharge areas in the Andes show that ground-water systems are responding to regional changes in climate and that response times are probably short (<1000 years). Results suggest that the wettest period represented by deposits was during the late Glacial/early Holocene (∼16-9.5 ka B.P.) and that a moderately wet period occurred during the mid-Holocene (8--3 ka B.P.). Major drops in Atacama water tables, due to regional drought, occurred between 9.5-8 and ∼3 ka B.P. The late Holocene was characterized by generally lower water tables than during the mid-Holocene and subject to more frequent water table drops. Fluctuations in tropical Pacific Sea Surface Temperatures, the Walker Circulation, and ENSO variability is thought to be the major control on precipitation over this region during the late Quaternary.
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