Tracer applications of noble gas radionuclides in the geosciences

Lu, Z.-T.; Schlosser, P.; Smethie, W.M.; Sturchio, N.C.; Fischer, T.P.; Kennedy, B.M.; Purtschert, R.; Severinghaus, J.P.; Solomon, D.K.; Tanhua, T.; Yokochi, R. (2014). Tracer applications of noble gas radionuclides in the geosciences. Earth-science reviews, 138, pp. 196-214. Elsevier 10.1016/j.earscirev.2013.09.002

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Noble gas radionuclides, including 81Kr (t1/2 = 229,000 years), 85Kr (t1/2 = 10.8 years), and 39Ar (t1/2 = 269 years), possess nearly ideal chemical and physical properties for studies of earth and environmental processes. Recent advances in Atom Trap Trace Analysis (ATTA), a laser-based atom counting method, have enabled routine measurements of the radiokrypton isotopes, as well as the demonstration of the ability to measure 39Ar in environmental samples. Here we provide an overview of the ATTA technique, and a survey of recent progress made in several laboratories worldwide.We review the application of noble gas radionuclides in the geosciences and discuss how ATTA can help advance these fields, specifically: determination of groundwater residence times using 81Kr, 85Kr, and 39Ar; dating old glacial ice using 81Kr; and an 39Ar survey of the main water masses of the oceans, to study circulation pathways and estimate mean residence times. Other scientific questions involving a deeper circulation of fluids in the Earth's crust and mantle are also within the scope of future applications. We conclude that the geoscience community would greatly benefit from an ATTA facility dedicated to this field, with instrumentation for routine measurements, as well as for research on further development of ATTA methods.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics

UniBE Contributor:

Purtschert, Roland

Subjects:

500 Science > 530 Physics

ISSN:

0012-8252

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Doris Rätz

Date Deposited:

21 Nov 2014 07:56

Last Modified:

10 Sep 2015 10:20

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.earscirev.2013.09.002

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.59908

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/59908

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