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Tri chlorofluoro methane in ground water a possible tracer and indicator of ground water age


, : Tri chlorofluoro methane in ground water a possible tracer and indicator of ground water age. Water Resources Research 15(3): 546-554

CCl3F, an entirely man-made material, is a detectable component of the atmosphere. Due to its unique atmospheric history, the presence of CCl3F in groundwater is potentially significant in terms of groundwater age. The age relationship stems from the fact that precipitation, exposed to CCl3F in the atmosphere, picks up an amount proportional to the atmospheric CCl3F concentration. If a portion of this water infiltrates into the subsurface to become groundwater, it can be differentiated from older groundwater (that infiltrated prior to the buildup of CCl3F in the atmosphere) on the basis of its CCl3F content. To evaluate the temporal significance of CCl3F in groundwater, preliminary investigations were conducted in 3 areas where the hydrology was well understood and where 3H measurements were made in the past. They were the Wharton tract of southern New Jersey, Hot Springs National Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas and the Edwards aquifer of south central Texas [USA]. The CCl3F data and the hydrologic controls agreed. The Texas study revealed a series of anomalous CCl3F concentrations (up to 35 .times. 10-9 g CCl3F/l H2O) that were too high to be of atmospheric origin. The anomalous points occurred in a line extending from the northwest corner of San Antonio for a distance of 74 km northeast along the Balcones fault zone and presumably represent the migration of CCl3F from a point source indicating the potential of this and similar compounds as hydrologic tracers.

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