Characterization and isotopic composition of organic and inorganic carbon in the Milk River aquifer

E. M. Murphy, S. N. Davis, A. Long, D. Donahue, A. J T Jull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Carbon isotope analyses were performed by accelerator mass spectrometry on fractions of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in groundwater from the Milk River aquifer, Alberta, Canada. The DOC was separated into high molecular weight (HMW) and low molecular weight (LMW) fractions for analysis. Characterization information and 14C activities suggest that the HMW fractions (primarily humic substances) originate in the interstitial waters of the soil zone in the area of recharge and are transported through the porous media of the aquifer. Transformations of HMW fractions down the flow path, including an increase in carbon, decrease in oxygen, and a pronounced increase in the aliphatic nature of this fraction, are consistent with decreasing 14C activity. The LMW fractions show a dominant kerogen origin. This fraction of the DOC has low 14C activities (generally <1 percent modern carbon), and gas chromatograph/mass spectrometry analyses identified a homologous series of substituted alkanes, further evidence that these compounds may have originated from organic-rich shales in the aquifer and/or confining beds. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1893-1905
Number of pages13
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume25
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

inorganic carbon
Aquifers
milk
aquifers
isotopic composition
Carbon
Rivers
Molecular weight
organic carbon
aquifer
molecular weight
Organic carbon
rivers
dissolved organic carbon
carbon
Chemical analysis
river
Mass spectrometry
mass spectrometry
Carbon Isotopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology

Cite this

Characterization and isotopic composition of organic and inorganic carbon in the Milk River aquifer. / Murphy, E. M.; Davis, S. N.; Long, A.; Donahue, D.; Jull, A. J T.

In: Water Resources Research, Vol. 25, No. 8, 1989, p. 1893-1905.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Murphy, E. M. ; Davis, S. N. ; Long, A. ; Donahue, D. ; Jull, A. J T. / Characterization and isotopic composition of organic and inorganic carbon in the Milk River aquifer. In: Water Resources Research. 1989 ; Vol. 25, No. 8. pp. 1893-1905.
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