Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1007/s10040-018-01917-6
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) Application of snowmelt as an active and inexpensive dual isotope groundwater tracer
Author Binder, M.; Tritschler, F.; Burghardt, D.; Klotzsch, S.; Dietrich, P. ORCID logo ; Liedl, R.; Händel, F.
Journal Hydrogeology Journal
Year 2019
Department MET
Volume 27
Issue 1
Page From 423
Page To 433
Language englisch
Keywords Stable isotopes;Tracer tests; Deuterium; Oxygen-18; Snowmelt
Abstract The use of snowmelt as an inexpensive multi-component tracer solution for active aquifer characterization is investigated, creating a valid alternative to existing artificial water isotope labelling using enriched deuterium oxide (2H2O) and water-18O (H218O). The approach directly takes advantage of natural differences between groundwater and precipitation. It is shown, at laboratory-scale and small field-scale, that a direct injection of snowmelt into a porous medium allows for the tracing of water flow and, therefore, for the determination of transport parameters based on the stable isotope signatures (δ2H and δ18O) and on the sum parameter electrical conductivity (EC). The differences in the isotope signature between the snowmelt and groundwater applied in this study were significant, with ∆(δ2H) = 61.0‰ and ∆(δ18O) = 8.2‰, while the EC difference was ~0.5 mS/cm. Stable isotope breakthrough was observed to be almost congruent to sodium chloride (laboratory tracer experiment) and to uranine (field-scale push-drift-pull test), clearly supporting the assumption of conservative transport. A crosscheck of the isotope data in δ2H-δ18O plots revealed no significant biases in the tests. On the other hand, the snowmelt’s EC breakthrough suffered from a slight retardation due to ion exchange and mineral reactions.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Binder, M., Tritschler, F., Burghardt, D., Klotzsch, S., Dietrich, P., Liedl, R., Händel, F. (2019):
Application of snowmelt as an active and inexpensive dual isotope groundwater tracer
Hydrogeol. J. 27 (1), 423 - 433