The Potential for Dating Groundwater Using Radiogenic Noble Gases

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The accumulation in groundwater of products from the radioactive decay of elements naturally found in rocks offers a potential for measuring the time that the groundwater has been contact with the rock. This dating method has an advantage over using decay products from the atmosphere in that the amount of decay products increases with age rather than decreases. However, different decay products accumulate at different rates and, thus, have a different potential usefulness in age determinations. The most useful decay product is helium, produced from uranium and thorium. The use of Ar-40 produced from potassium is limited because Ar-40 is ... continued below

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Cornman, W.R. March 23, 2001.

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The accumulation in groundwater of products from the radioactive decay of elements naturally found in rocks offers a potential for measuring the time that the groundwater has been contact with the rock. This dating method has an advantage over using decay products from the atmosphere in that the amount of decay products increases with age rather than decreases. However, different decay products accumulate at different rates and, thus, have a different potential usefulness in age determinations. The most useful decay product is helium, produced from uranium and thorium. The use of Ar-40 produced from potassium is limited because Ar-40 is abundant in meteoric water. Neon, xenon and krypton are useful with great difficulty because they are produced in extremely small quantities. In general, the potential for error increases when a long time is required to produce a small quantity of the dating nuclide.

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  • Journal Name: Water Resources Research

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  • Report No.: DP-MS-79-82 Rev. 1
  • Grant Number: AC09-76SR00001
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 780255
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc720759

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  • March 23, 2001

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  • Sept. 29, 2015, 5:31 a.m.

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  • May 5, 2016, 4:26 p.m.

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Cornman, W.R. The Potential for Dating Groundwater Using Radiogenic Noble Gases, article, March 23, 2001; South Carolina. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc720759/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.