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  • Ground Water
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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Journal of Hydrology, 27 November 2014, Vol.519, pp.3386-3399
    Description: The travel-time distribution between rivers and groundwater observation points and the mixing of freshly infiltrated river water with groundwater of other origin is of high relevance in riverbank filtration. These characteristics usually are inferred from the analysis of natural-tracer time series, typically relying on a stationary input–output relationship. However, non-stationarity is a significant feature of the riparian zone causing time-varying river-to-groundwater transfer functions. We present a non-stationary extension of nonparametric deconvolution by performing stationary deconvolution with windowed time series, enforcing smoothness of the determined transfer function in time and travel time. The nonparametric approach facilitates the identification of unconventional features in travel-time distributions, such as broad peaks, and the sliding-window approach is an easy way to accommodate the method to dynamic changes of the system under consideration. By this, we obtain time-varying signal-recovery rates and travel-time distributions, from which we derive the mean travel time and the spread of the distribution as function of time. We apply our method to electric-conductivity data collected at River Thur, Switzerland, and adjacent piezometers. The non-stationary approach reproduces the groundwater observations significantly better than the stationary one, both in terms of overall metrics and in matching individual peaks. We compare characteristics of the transient transfer function to base flow which indicates shorter travel times at higher river stages.
    Keywords: Travel-Time Distribution ; Bank Filtration ; Non-Stationarity ; Nonparametric Inference ; Geography
    ISSN: 0022-1694
    E-ISSN: 1879-2707
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: Journal of Hydrology, 2011, Vol.402(3), pp.274-289
    Description: ► Using multiple isotopes to study groundwater flow in active rifts. ► Hydrochemical and isotopic evolution from escarpments to Rift floor. ► Mantle CO influences groundwater hydrochemistry. ► Apparent C ages are similar in Rift floor groundwater. ► Groundwater flow paths occur both longitudinal and transversal to rift axis. This study aims to investigate groundwater recharge and flow patterns in tectonically active rift systems, exemplified by a case study in the Main Ethiopian Rift. The chosen approach includes the investigation of hydrochemical parameters and environmental isotopes ( H, δ H, δ O, δ C-DIC, C-DIC, Sr/ Sr). Apparent groundwater ages were determined by radiocarbon dating after correction of C-DIC using a modified δ C-mixing model and further validation using geochemical modelling with NETPATH. Hydrochemical and isotopic data indicate an evolutionary trend existing from the escarpments towards the Rift floor. Groundwater evolves from tritium-containing and hence recently recharged Ca–HCO -type water on the escarpments to tritium-free Na–HCO groundwater dominating deep Rift floor aquifers. Correspondingly, rising pH and values coupled with increasingly enriched δ C signatures point to hydrochemical evolution of DIC and beginning dilution of the carbon isotope signature by other carbon sources, related to a diffuse influx of mantle CO into the groundwater system. Especially thermal groundwater sampled near the most recent fault zones in the Fantale/Beseka region displays clear influence of mantle CO and increased water–rock interaction, indicated by a shift in δ C and Sr/ Sr signatures. The calculation of apparent groundwater ages revealed an age increase of deep groundwater from the escarpments to the Rift floor, complying with hydrochemical evolution. Within the Rift, samples show a relatively uniform distribution of apparent C ages of ∼1800 to ∼2800 years, with the expected down-gradient aging trend lacking, contradicting the predominant intra-rift groundwater flow described in existing transect-based models of groundwater flow. By combining hydrochemical and new isotopic data with knowledge of the structural geology of the Rift, we improve the existing groundwater flow model and propose a new conceptual model by identifying flow paths both transversal and longitudinal to the main Rift axis, the latter being strongly controlled by faulted and tilted blocks on the escarpment steps. The connection between groundwater flow and fault direction make this model applicable to other active rift systems with similar structural settings.
    Keywords: Rift Tectonics ; Hydrochemistry ; Isotope Hydrology ; Groundwater Cycle and Dating ; 87sr/ 86sr ; 14c ; Geography
    ISSN: 0022-1694
    E-ISSN: 1879-2707
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Procedia Earth and Planetary Science, 2017, Vol.17, pp.574-577
    Description: Lithium and its isotopes has generally been used as a proxy for silicate weathering and only in a few case studies investigated the link between Lithium isotope systematics of surface and ground waters with respect to residence times in crustal reservoirs and aquifers. However, the processes controlling the Lithium isotope fractionation in such systems are not fully understood, yet. In order to gain a better understanding of how Lithium isotopes are fractionated in large catchments we analyzed Lithium concentrations and Lithium isotope compositions of different water reservoirs (rivers, groundwater, thermal water and lakes) of a high alpine granitic catchment in the Pamir Mountains. We also determined the Lithium concentration and Lithium isotope composition of the (granitic) basement as well as the suspended particulate matter (SPM) in the waters. We observe large isotopic variations in the water samples (from δ Li = +3 to +36‰) and light isotopic compositions for the bedrock and SPM (δ Li = -14 to +1.5‰). The wide span of Li isotope composition in the water samples reflects the weathering of silicate rock along the flow path of the (sub) surface water within the catchment.
    Keywords: Lithium Isotopes ; River Water ; Ground Water ; Granite ; Pamir ; Central Asia ; Geology
    ISSN: 1878-5220
    E-ISSN: 1878-5220
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  • 4
    In: Water Resources Research, May 2013, Vol.49(5), pp.3024-3037
    Description: concurrent tests of conservative and reactive tracers in streams joint analysis of the tracers improved the estimation of hyporheic parameters Markov chain Monte Carlo methods used to infer parameter distributions Knowledge about the strength and travel times of hyporheic exchange is vital to predict reactive transport and biogeochemical cycling in streams. In this study, we outline how to perform and analyze stream tracer tests using pulse injections of fluorescein as conservative and resazurin as reactive tracer, which is selectively transformed to resorufin when exposed to metabolically active zones, presumably located in the hyporheic zone. We present steps of preliminary data analysis and apply a conceptually simple mathematical model of the tracer tests to separate effects of in‐stream transport from hyporheic exchange processes. To overcome the dependence of common parameter estimation schemes on the initial guess, we derive posterior parameter probability density functions using an adaptive Markov chain Monte Carlo scheme. By this, we can identify maximum‐likelihood parameter values of in‐stream transport, strength of hyporheic exchange, distribution of hyporheic travel times as well as sorption and reactivity coefficients of the hyporheic zone. We demonstrate the approach by a tracer experiment at River Goldersbach in southern Germany (60 L/s discharge). In‐stream breakthrough curves were recorded with online fluorometers and jointly fitted to simulations of a one‐dimensional reactive transport model assuming an exponential hyporheic travel‐time distribution. The findings show that the additional analysis of resazurin not only improved the physical basis of the modeling, but was crucial to differentiate between surface transport and hyporheic transient storage of stream solutes. Parameter uncertainties were usually small and could not explain parameter variability between adjacent monitoring stations. The latter as well as a systematic underestimation of the tailing are due to structural errors of the model, particularly the exponential hyporheic travel‐time distribution. Mean hyporheic travel times were in the range of 12 min, suggesting that small streambed structures dominate hyporheic exchange at the study site.
    Keywords: Hyporheic Exchange ; Stream Tracer Experiments ; Travel‐Time Distributions ; Resazurin ; Resorufin
    ISSN: 0043-1397
    E-ISSN: 1944-7973
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  • 5
    Language: English
    In: Quaternary International, 04 August 2014, Vol.338, pp.59-70
    Description: Miocene–Pliocene and Upper Cretaceous formations in Tunisia contain one of the most productive artesian aquifers in the country. They consist of Mio-Pliocene sands and Senonian/Turonian carbonates. Intensive pumping in Kébili and Nefzaoua regions over the past decades resulted in gradual lowering of water table at the rate of approximately 0.85 m y . Forty-two groundwater samples have been collected from different sectors of the studied aquifers for chemical and isotopic analyses. The observed large spatial variability of chemical composition of groundwater in the study area is most probably linked to two processes: (i) dissolution of dolomite and gypsum, combined with calcite precipitation (dedolomitisation), and (ii) partial evaporation of water. The first process plays an important role in the study area due to abundance of evaporites. Partial evaporation occurs in the upper part of the unsaturated zone during infiltration, especially for groundwater sampled in the Kebili and Djerid regions. Apart from these processes, there are others which influence the salinity of the aquifers. In the Mio-Pliocene aquifer, which behaves as an open system to gases and which receives inputs of CO gas derived from intensive tectonic activity in the area, the interaction of carbon dioxide with carbonate matrix of the aquifer produces an increase in the alkalinity of water. In the Senonian and Turonian aquifers, the process of dedolomitisation evolves in a closed system with respect to CO gas. Ca /Na cation exchange and halite dissolution processes are also important. Stable isotope composition of water (δ O, δ H) indicates that the recharge occurs from the Dahar upland. The C activity varies between 89.5 (±1.5) and 3.7 (±2.1) pmc. The C content in the total dissolved inorganic carbon (TDIC) range between −13.9 and −3.6‰. The calculated concentrations of C in the CO gas in equilibrium with the TDIC vary between −22 and −11‰, indicating two sources of carbon in the solution: carbonate matrix (δ C = −2‰) and soil CO (δ C from −25 to −21‰ for the cultivated areas). Mean residence times of water have been determined after correction of the initial C activities for C-dilution processes including carbonate dissolution, calcite precipitation and cation-exchange. The dilution processes were quantified on the basis of geochemical and C mass balance equations. The calculated mean residence times of water confirm modern recharge from Dahar upland and the mountains surrounding depressions, and indicate the presence of paleowaters in the east and south-west region, and in the discharge zone.
    Keywords: Tunisia ; Dissolution ; Evaporation ; Dilution ; Residence Time ; Geology
    ISSN: 1040-6182
    E-ISSN: 1873-4553
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  • 6
    Language: English
    In: Environmental Earth Sciences, 2013, Vol.69(2), pp.359-372
    Description: First results of a multi-disciplinary hyporheic monitoring study are presented from the newly established Steinlach Test Site in Southern Germany. The site is located in a bend of the River Steinlach (mean discharge of 1.8 m³/s) underlain by an alluvial sandy gravel aquifer connected to the stream. The overall objective is a better understanding of hyporheic exchange processes at the site and their interrelations with microbial community dynamics and biochemical reactions at the stream–groundwater interface. The present paper focuses on the distribution of lateral hyporheic exchange fluxes and their associated travel times at the Steinlach Test Site. Water level dynamics in various piezometers correspond to the different domains of hydraulic conductivity in the shallow aquifer and confirms hyporheic exchange of infiltrated stream water across the test site. Hydrochemical compositions as well as increased damping of continuous time series of electrical conductivity (EC) and temperature at the respective piezometers confirmed the inferred distribution of hyporheic flowpaths. Mean travel times ranging from 0.5 days close to the stream to more than 8 days in the upstream part of the test site could be estimated from deconvolution of EC and δ 18 O–H 2 O data. The travel times agree well with the presumed flowpaths. Mg/Ca ratios as well as model fits to the EC and δ 18 O data indicate the presence of an additional water component in the western part of the test site which most likely consists of hillslope water or groundwater. Based on the mean travel times, the total lateral hyporheic exchange flux at the site was estimated to be of the order of 1–2 L/s.
    Keywords: Hyporheic zone ; Stream–groundwater interaction ; Travel time distribution ; Deconvolution ; Monitoring
    ISSN: 1866-6280
    E-ISSN: 1866-6299
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  • 7
    Language: English
    In: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 2009, Vol.73(4), pp.911-922
    Description: Groundwater is an important and often exclusive water resource in arid and semi-arid regions. The aim of the present paper was to gain insight into the processes and conditions that control the deterioration of groundwater quality in the semi-arid Kalahari of Botswana. Measurements of He, He, Ne, Ne, and of C of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) were combined with existing isotopic and hydrochemical data to investigate groundwater from the Ntane Sandstone Aquifer, which is affected by high nitrate concentrations of non-anthropogenic origin. All groundwater samples revealed neon concentrations in excess to air-saturated water, which we attributed to the addition of excess air during recharge. Neon concentrations ranged from values close to air saturation for C DIC rich samples (up to 80.5%MC) up to values of 90% in excess to air-saturated water for lower C DIC contents (2.6–61.3%MC). A strong linear correlation of excess Ne with nitrate concentrations suggests an intimate connection between groundwater quality and the processes and conditions during groundwater recharge. Low groundwater recharge rates under present-day semi-arid conditions are associated with low amounts of excess Ne and elevated nitrate concentrations. In contrast to this, higher excess Ne values in groundwater of lower C DIC and nitrate contents indicate that the high quality groundwater end-member presumably is related to higher groundwater table fluctuations during wetter climatic conditions in the past. We attribute the decline in groundwater quality with respect to nitrate to a decreasing rate and temporal variability of groundwater recharge, and to concurrent changes in biogeochemical activities following a transition to a drier climate during the Holocene. Under such conditions, a much stronger decrease in groundwater recharge compared to the release of nitrate from soil organic matter may result in elevated nitrate concentrations in the vadose zone and groundwater. This implies a strong impact of climate change on the transport of solutes like nitrate through the vadose zone which needs to be considered in predictions of future groundwater quality.
    Keywords: Geology
    ISSN: 0016-7037
    E-ISSN: 1872-9533
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  • 8
    Language: English
    In: Water Research, 2007, Vol.41(15), pp.3259-3270
    Description: In this study, we used isotopic ( O, H, S-SO ) and chemical tracers (boron) to assess the sources and transport processes of the micropollutants carbamazepine, galaxolide, and bisphenol A in groundwater underlying the city of Halle (Saale), Germany. Their ubiquitous presence in urban groundwater results from a combination of local river water infiltration, sewer exfiltration, and urban stormwater recharge. Attenuation during transport with infiltrating river water increased from carbamazepine (0–60%) to galaxolide (60–80%) in accordance with their increasing sorption affinity and decreasing recalcitrance against biodegradation. Distinctly higher attenuation during transport was found for carbamazepine (85–100%) and galaxolide (95–100%) if micropollutants originated from sewer exfiltration. Most likely, this is related to higher contents of organic matter and higher transit times of the respective flow paths. Although attenuation undoubtedly also affects the transport of bisphenol A, quantification is limited due to additional contributions from the urban stormwater recharge. As a consequence, micropollutant loads in groundwater indicate that groundwater discharge may dominate the export of bisphenol A from urban areas.
    Keywords: Urban Groundwater ; Pharmaceuticals ; Personal Care Products ; Endocrine Disruptors ; Stable Isotopes ; Sewer Exfiltration ; Engineering
    ISSN: 0043-1354
    E-ISSN: 1879-2448
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  • 9
    Language: English
    In: Applied Geochemistry, 2008, Vol.23(10), pp.2945-2954
    Description: Naturally occurring stable and radioactive isotopes were used as environmental tracers to investigate contaminant metal mobilization processes in a metal smelter dump mainly consisting of slag. Water emerging from the dump at a spring is heavily contaminated by metals. The smelter dump contains minor amounts of flue dust, a material which shows a high potential for metal mobilization. Nearby dumps mainly consist of low-grade ore. Concentration patterns of U, Ra and Pb determined in sediment deposited close to the contaminated spring reveal the flue dust to be the major local metal source rather than the slag or the low-grade ore. Contamination pathways inside the dump were investigated using hydrological, chemical and isotopic data. Strong negative correlation between water discharge and metal concentration in the spring water suggests, besides short-term dilution of the metal concentration by direct rainwater runoff, distinct long-term dilution of the spring water by groundwater being discharged at a significantly increased rate as a result of heavy rains. δ O and δD signatures of rain, local groundwater and spring water confirm the importance of groundwater derived from the local aquifer. Another hydrological component with importance for metal mobilization was found to be water that is recharged in the dump itself. Tritium analysis allowed an assessment of the probable residence time of that water component in the smelter dump. Since that water component seems to represent a major local contamination pathway the findings of the study are of substantial importance for site remediation planning. As a primary result it could be stated that covering the dump would not result in any noteworthy short-term improvement of the spring water quality. First significant effects would only be visible after 2–3 decades at the earliest.
    Keywords: Geology
    ISSN: 0883-2927
    E-ISSN: 1872-9134
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  • 10
    In: Water Resources Research, December 2006, Vol.42(12), pp.n/a-n/a
    Description: Nitrate pollution from agricultural activities often persistently affects groundwater quality due to long residence times in the vadose and saturated zone. In this study we used a lumped parameter approach to estimate the residence time of groundwater and nitrate from the agriculturally used Jahna‐Aue drinking water catchment in Saxonia, Germany. Inverse modeling of measured concentrations of tritium and tritiogenic He revealed consistent mean residence times between 25 and 50 years for the young, nitrate‐rich groundwater component, and high contributions (〉75%) of an old, tracer‐free, and nitrate‐poor groundwater. The obtained age distributions are in accordance with the complex hydrogeological situation of the investigated catchment, suggesting that the shallow and therefore most vulnerable part of the aquifer is not connected to the production wells. High residence times are supported by low concentrations of CFCs and by radiogenic He as an independent age indicator. CFC concentrations only yield lower age limits due to identified problems with CFC contamination. Using the tracer‐calibrated age distributions, future nitrate concentrations in the production wells most probably will remain below the drinking water limit because of the high dilution with old, nitrate‐poor groundwater. Deterioration of the groundwater quality with respect to nitrate may occur if the groundwater pumping regime is changed so that the fraction of the younger, nitrate‐bearing water is increased.
    Keywords: Groundwater Age Distribution ; Lumped Parameter Model ; Nitrate Pollution ; Nitrate Stable Isotopes ; Tritium/He
    ISSN: 0043-1397
    E-ISSN: 1944-7973
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