The application of stable isotopes, δ11B, δ18O, and δD, in geochemical and hydrological investigations

TitleThe application of stable isotopes, δ11B, δ18O, and δD, in geochemical and hydrological investigations
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsLeslie, DL, W Lyons, B
Academic DepartmentGeological Sciences
UniversityOhio State University
CityColumbus, OH
Thesis Typedoctoral
KeywordsAntarctica, boron isotopes, hyporheic zone, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Ohio precipitation source, oxygen-18 and deuterium isotopes, saline lake

My dissertation research utilizes stable isotopes as tracers of water and solute sources to study specific geochemical (solute origin) and hydrological (glacier meltwater source across a season comparing water contributions from hyporheic zone and/or glacier melt and residence time of precipitation within a managed water supply) problems within McMurdo Dry Valleys (MCM), Antarctica, and Central Ohio, USA. In Chapter II, δ11B isotopic and dissolved B measurements are used to infer the origin of B within MCM aquatic system. Boron stable isotopic values span the range of +12.3‰ to +51.4‰, varying from glacier meltwater streams to the hypolimnion of a highly evaporated hypersaline lake. These data demonstrate that the major sources of B are chemical weathering of alumniosilicates within the stream channels, and a marine source, either currently introduced by marine-derived aerosols or from ancient seawater. In-lake processes create a more positive δ11B through adsorption or mineral precipitation. The glacier meltwater streams, Lakes Fryxell, Hoare, and upper waters of Lake Joyce display a mixture of these two sources, with Lake Joyce bottom waters primarily of marine origin. Lakes Bonney and Vanda and Blood Falls brine are interpreted as having a marine-like source changed by in-lake processes to result in a more positive δ11B, while Don Juan Pond displays a more terrestrial influence. In Chapter III, δ18O and δD are used to trace water source variation via hyporheic zone or glacier melt within two MCM streams over an entire melt season. The isotopic variation of these streams was more negative at the beginning of the season and more positive later. D-excess measurements were used to infer mixing between hyporheic storage and glacier meltwater. It was supported that Von Guerard Stream has a large, widespread hyporheic zone that changes with time and discharge amounts. The chemistry of Andersen Creek also displayed hyporheic zone influence at certain times of the year. This work adds important new information on the role of hyperheic zone-stream interactions, and supports the short term, more physically based, descriptions of hyporheic dynamics explained in the past decade. Chapter IV describes water flow and travel time within a human managed watershed-reservoir system by measuring the δ18O and δD of the precipitation source to the reservoirs and finally to the distribution system, the tap. Generally, the tap waters experienced little lag time in the managed system, having a residence time of about two months. Tap and reservoir waters preserved the precipitation signal with the reservoir morphology acting as an important control. These water supply reservoirs functioned more like a river system with a faster throughput of water and larger variations in chemical parameters. Other water supply reservoirs have a greater capacity with a larger amount of water supply usage through a more lacustrine environment, which displays more constant solute concentrations and longer flow-through times. This work provides a basic understanding of a regional water supply system in central Ohio, reservoir isotopic dynamics, and Ohio precipitation sources.