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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Determining mean transit times of groundwater flow systems
by Stolp, Bernard Jan, Ph.D., The University of Utah, 2014, 92; 3614458
Abstract (Summary)

Water is the elementary component of life on Earth, and quantifying this resource is critical to understanding ecosystem viability on planetary, continental, and local scales. In a simplified partition of the Earthfs freshwater resources, 75% is ice at the north and south poles, 25% is groundwater, and 0.01% exists in lakes and streams. Mean transit time is a robust description of groundwater volume within the discrete aquifers that together make up the 25% of Earthfs freshwater. Mean transit time can be estimated using environmental tracer concentrations in springs and gaining streams. That is because springs and streams are locations where groundwater flow paths naturally converge. Converging flowpaths create discharge that is a flow]weighted mixture of water from the contributing aquifer. The age of that flow-weighted mixture is a good measure of the mean transit time of water as it discharges from the contributing aquifer. Mean transit time can be directly used to estimate the volume of groundwater storage in the aquifer.

Although simple in principle, there are several important topics that need to be considered when collecting and dating a broad mixture of flow paths. They include 1) the necessity for a basic conceptual perception of the investigated aquifer, 2) the non-conservative aspect of most age-dating environmental tracers once exposed to the atmosphere, and 3) the importance of estimating a transit-time distribution. These specific topics are discussed in this dissertation.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Solomon, D. Kip
Commitee: Bowman, John R., Burian, Steven J., Cerling, Thure E., Kimball, Briant
School: The University of Utah
Department: Geology and Geophysics
School Location: United States -- Utah
Source: DAI-B 75/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Hydrologic sciences, Environmental science
Keywords: Dissolved gases, Ecosystem, Flowpath integration along gaining streams, Gas exchange, Mean transit time
Publication Number: 3614458
ISBN: 978-1-303-79774-3
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