Production of radionuclides in the earth and their hydrogeologic significance, with emphasis on chlorine-36 and iodine-129
AuthorFabryka-Martin, June Taylor.
Committee ChairDavis, Stanley N.
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.
AbstractRecent years have seen increasing use of atmospheric radionuclides for dating and tracing hydrogeologic processes. Hydrologists often assume that meteoric sources of these nuclides are dominant in ground water and that age-dating methods are limited primarily by analytical detection capability. However, in some cases, subsurface production may also limit the usefulness of these nuclides for dating. Equilibrium radionuclide concentrations are calculated as a function of depth for a variety of rock types. Production mechanisms include fissioning of heavy radionuclides; spallation by cosmic-ray nucleons; capture of neutrons, a-particles, muons and protons; and photonuclear reactions. Calculations indicate that deep subsurface production of ³H, ¹⁴c, ⁸⁵Kr and ⁹⁹Tc is generally below detection but that deep production of ³⁶C1, ³⁹Ar, ⁸¹Kr and ¹²⁹I establishes limits to age-dating of water in most rocks. Parameters for estimating production of ¹⁰Be, ²²Na, ²⁶Al, ³⁷Ar, ³²Si, ⁴¹Ca and ⁷⁹Se are included in appendices. Evidence for in-situ production of ³⁶C1 and ¹²⁹I is presented for two field studies. Concentrations in ground water from the Stripa granite, Sweden, were determined by accelerator mass spectrometry. ¹²⁹I values range from 1,000 to 200,000 atoms/ml, compared to an estimated background concentration in pre-1945 water of 20 atoms/ml. The high levels are attributed to production by spontaneous fission of ²³⁸U in the granite (44 ppm U). ³⁶C1/C1 ratios range from 50-200 x 10 -15 compared to about 40 x 10⁻¹⁵ in meteoric recharge. An increase in ratios with depth has been attributed to production of ³⁶C1 by neutron- capture on ³⁵C1 and is used to set upper limits on the residence time of water in the granite. The validity of using ³⁶C1/C1 ratios as a monitor of deep lithospheric neutron fluxes was tested by measuring the ratios in Cl extracted from Stripa granite. The average ratio, 190 x 10⁻¹⁵, agrees with ratios calculated based on rock chemistry, 190 x 10⁻¹⁵, and on the measured neutron flux, 220 x 10⁻¹⁵. ¹²⁹I and ³⁸C1 were also measured in uranium ores from the Koongarra and Ranger deposits, N.T., Australia. Samples from the oxidized ore zone contain only 6-23% of the ¹²⁹I contents predicted for equilibrium, suggesting preferential loss of ¹²⁹I relative to U during weathering. ³⁶C1 is produced as a result of high neutron fluxes in the ore. Measured ³⁶C1/C1 ratios range from 3 x 10 -12 to 1 x 10⁻¹⁰, corresponding to apparent neutron fluxes of 2 x 10⁵ to 1 x 10⁷/cm²/yr.
Degree NamePh. D.
Degree ProgramHydrology and Water Resources