| Tracing the Seepage of Subsurface Sinkhole Vent Waters into Lake Huron Using Radium and Stable Isotopes of Oxygen and Hydrogen - :13053 | Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR)
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Tracing the Seepage of Subsurface Sinkhole Vent Waters into Lake Huron Using Radium and Stable Isotopes of Oxygen and Hydrogen
  • Published Date:
    2016
  • Source:
    Aquatic Geochemistry, 22(4), 349-374.
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  • Description:
    Exchange of water between groundwater and surface water could alter water quality of the surface waters and thereby impact its ecosystem. Discharges of anoxic groundwater, with high concentrations of sulfate and chloride and low concentrations of nitrate and oxygen, from three sinkhole vents (El Cajon, Middle Island and Isolated) in Lake Huron have been recently documented. In this investigation, we collected and analyzed a suite of water samples from these three sinkhole vents and lake water samples from Lake Huron for Ra, radon-222, stable isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen, and other ancillary parameters. These measurements are among the first of their kind in this unique environment. The activities of Ra are found to be one to two orders of magnitude higher than that of the lake water. Isotopic signatures of some of the bottom lake water samples indicate evidences for micro-seeps at distances farther from these three vents. A plot of delta D versus delta O-18 indicates that there are deviations from the Global Meteoric Line that can be attributed to mixing of different water masses and/or due to some subsurface chemical reactions. Using the Ra isotopic ratios, we estimated the transit times of the vent waters from the bottom to the top of the vent (i.e., sediment-water interface) to be 4-37 days. More systematic studies on the distribution of the radioactive and stable isotope studies are needed to evaluate the prevalence of micro-seeps in Lake Huron and other Great Lakes system.

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