+ Site Statistics
+ Search Articles
+ PDF Full Text Service
How our service works
Request PDF Full Text
+ Follow Us
Follow on Facebook
Follow on Twitter
Follow on LinkedIn
+ Subscribe to Site Feeds
Most Shared
PDF Full Text
+ Translate
+ Recently Requested

Interpretation of environmental tracers in groundwater systems with stagnant water zones



Interpretation of environmental tracers in groundwater systems with stagnant water zones



Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies 40(1): 21-33



Lumped-parameter models are commonly applied for determining the age of water from time records of transient environmental tracers. The simplest models (e.g. piston flow or exponential) are also applicable for dating based on the decay or accumulation of tracers in groundwater systems. The models are based on the assumption that the transit time distribution function (exit age distribution function) of the tracer particles in the investigated system adequately represents the distribution of flow lines and is described by a simple function. A chosen or fitted function (called the response function) describes the transit time distribution of a tracer which would be observed at the output (discharge area, spring, stream, or pumping wells) in the case of an instantaneous injection at the entrance (recharge area). Due to large space and time scales, response functions are not measurable in groundwater systems, therefore, functions known from other fields of science, mainly from chemical engineering, are usually used. The type of response function and the values of its parameters define the lumped-parameter model of a system. The main parameter is the mean transit time of tracer through the system, which under favourable conditions may represent the mean age of mobile water. The parameters of the model are found by fitting calculated concentrations to the experimental records of concentrations measured at the outlet. The mean transit time of tracer (often called the tracer age), whether equal to the mean age of water or not, serves in adequate combinations with other data for determining other useful parameters, e.g. the recharge rate or the content of water in the system. The transit time distribution and its mean value serve for confirmation or determination of the conceptual model of the system and/or estimation of its potential vulnerability to anthropogenic pollution. In the interpretation of environmental tracer data with the aid of the lumped-parameter models, the influence of diffusion exchange between mobile water and stagnant or quasi-stagnant water is seldom considered, though it leads to large differences between tracer and water ages. Therefore, the article is focused on the transit time distribution functions of the most common lumped-parameter models, particularly those applicable for the interpretation of environmental tracer data in double-porosity aquifers, or aquifers in which aquitard diffusion may play an important role. A case study is recalled for a confined aquifer in which the diffusion exchange with aquitard most probably strongly influenced the transport of environmental tracers. Another case study presented is related to the interpretation of environmental tracer data obtained from lysimeters installed in the unsaturated zone with a fraction of stagnant water.

Please choose payment method:






(PDF emailed within 0-6 h: $19.90)

Accession: 004210982

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 15085981

DOI: 10.1080/10256010310001645717


Related references

Insights from environmental tracers in groundwater systems. Hydrogeology Journal 19.1, 2011

New mathematical models for the interpretation of environmental tracers in groundwaters and the combined use of tritium, C-14, Kr-85, He-3, and freon-11 for groundwater studies. Materiaux pour la Geologie de la Suisse Hydrologie, 1982

Modeling groundwater age dates based on environmental tracers in heterogeneous aquifer systems. Abstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America 32(7): 409, 2000

Determining the turnover time of groundwater systems with the aid of environmental tracers. 1. Models and their applicability. Journal of hydrology 57(3-4): 207-231, 1982

New mathematical models for the interpretation of environmental tracers in groundwaters and the combined use of tritium, C-14, Kr-85, He-3, carbon, krypton, helium isotopes and freon-11 for groundwater studies. Tracermethoden in der Hydrologie = Tracer techniques in hydrology Redaktion: C Leibundgut R Weingartner: 406, 1982

Trace elements and environmental isotopes as tracers of surface water-groundwater interaction a case study at Xinan karst water system, Shanxi Province, Northern China. Environmental Earth Sciences: 6, 1223-1234, 2010

Mathematical models for the interpretation of environmental radioisotopes in groundwater systems. 2: 1-59 1986, 1986

The hydrogeology of the Sacramento Mountains and Roswell and Salt basins of New Mexico, USA: overview of investigations on dryland groundwater systems using environmental tracers and geochemical approaches. Hydrogeology Journal 24(4): 753-756, 2016

Interpretation of environmental isotopic groundwater data: arid and semi-arid zones. Arid Zone Hydrology: Investigations with Isotope Techniques: 31-46, 1980

Groundwater residence time and aquifer recharge in multilayered, semi-confined and faulted aquifer systems using environmental tracers. Journal of Hydrology 546: 150-165, 2017

The effectiveness of environmental tracers and groundwater-level changes to clarify a regional groundwater flow system: the Tokachi Plain, Hokkaido. Journal of Japanese Association of Hydrological Sciences 47(3): 145-161, 2017

Comparison of surface water/groundwater interface zones in fluvial and karstic systems. Comptes Rendus de l'Academie des Sciences Serie III Sciences de la Vie 318(4): 499-509, 1995

A toolkit for groundwater mean residence time interpretation with gaseous tracers. Computers & Geosciences 61: 116-125, 2013

Interpretation of water temperature variation as an aid in designing groundwater monitoring systems in karst terranes. Abstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America 23(5): 204, 1991

Interpretation of environmental tracer data for conceptual understanding of groundwater flow: an application for fractured aquifer systems in the Kłodzko Basin, Sudetes, Poland. Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies 53(5): 466-483, 2017