FCE LTER Journal Articles

Abstract

The concentrations of tritium (3H) and helium isotopes (3He and4He) were used as tracers of groundwater flow in the surficial aquifer system (SAS) beneath Everglades National Park (ENP), south Florida. From ages determined by 3H/3He dating techniques, groundwater within the upper 28 m originated within the last 30 years. Below 28 m, waters originated prior to 30 years before present with evidence of mixing at the interface. Interannual variation of the 3H/3He ages within the upper 28 m was significant throughout the 3 year investigation, corresponding with varying hydrologic conditions. In the region of Taylor Slough Bridge, younger groundwater was consistently detected below older groundwater in the Biscayne Aquifer, suggesting preferential flow to the lower part of the aquifer. An increase in 4He with depth in the SAS indicated that radiogenic 4He produced in the underlying Hawthorn Group migrates into the SAS by diffusion. Higher Δ4He values in brackish groundwaters compared to fresh waters from similar depths suggested a possible enhanced vertical transport of4He in the seawater mixing zone. Groundwater salinity measurements indicated the presence of a wide (6–28 km) seawater mixing zone. Comparison of groundwater levels with surface water levels in this zone indicated the potential for brackish groundwater discharge to the overlying Everglades surface water.

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Copyright © 2003 American Geophysical Union

The definitive publisher-authenticated version is also available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2002WR001929

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research program under Cooperative Agreements #DBI-0620409 and #DEB-9910514. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.



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