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Mercury and organic carbon concentrations vary dynamically in streamwater at the Sleepers River Research Watershed in Vermont, USA. Total mercury (THg) concentrations ranged from 0.53 to 93.8 ng/L during a 3-year period of study. The highest mercury (Hg) concentrations occurred slightly before peak flows and were associated with the highest organic carbon (OC) concentrations. Dissolved Hg (DHg) was the dominant form in the upland catchments; particulate Hg (PHg) dominated in the lowland catchments. The concentration of hydrophobic acid (HPOA), the major component of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), explained 41–98% of the variability of DHg concentration while DOC flux explained 68–85% of the variability in DHg flux,...
The chemical interactions of hydrophobic organic contaminants with soils and sediments may result in strong binding and slow subsequent release rates that significantly affect remediation rates and endpoints. In order to illustrate the recalcitrance of chemical to degradation on sites, a sorption mechanism of intraparticle sequestration was postulated to operate on chemical remediation sites. Pseudo-first order sequestration kinetics is used in the study with the hypothesis that sequestration is an irreversibly surface-mediated process. A mathematical model based on mass balance equations was developed to describe the fate of chemical degradation in soil/water microcosm systems. In the model, diffusion was represented...
Coal-bed methane (CBM) co-produced discharge waters in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming, resulting from extraction of methane from coal seams, have become a priority for chemical, hydrological and biological research during the last few years. Soil and vegetation samples were taken from affected and reference sites (upland elevations and wetted gully) in Juniper Draw to investigate the effects of CBM discharge waters on soil physical and chemical properties and on native and introduced vegetation density and diversity. Results indicate an increase of salinity and sodicity within local soil ecosystems at sites directly exposed to CBM discharge waters. Elevated concentrations of sodium in the soil are correlated...
The biogeochemical cycling of sulfur (S) was studied during the 2000 snowmelt at Sleepers River Research Watershed in northeastern Vermont, USA using a hydrochemical and multi-isotope approach. The snowpack and 10 streams of varying size and land use were sampled for analysis of anions, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), 35 S activity, and δ 34 S and δ 18 O values of sulfate. At one of the streams, δ 18 O values of water also were measured. Apportionment of sulfur derived from atmospheric and mineral sources based on their distinct δ 34 S values was possible for 7 of the 10 streams. Although mineral S generally dominated, atmospheric-derived S contributions exceeded 50% in several of the streams at peak snowmelt and...
Mechanisms underlying catchment export of nitrogen (N) during seasonal transitions (i.e., winter to spring and summer to autumn) were investigated in high-elevation catchments of the Sierra Nevada using stable isotopes of nitrate and water, intensive monitoring of stream chemistry and detailed catchment N-budgets. We had four objectives: (1) determine the relative contribution of snowpack and soil nitrate to the spring nitrate pulse, (2) look for evidence of biotic control of N losses at the catchment scale, (3) examine dissolved organic nitrogen ( DON) export patterns to gain a better understanding of the biological and hydrological controls on DON loss, and (4) examine the relationship between soil physico-chemical...
Chemical and isotopic data for groundwater from throughout the Middle Rio Grande Basin, central New Mexico, USA, were used to identify and map groundwater flow from 12 sources of water to the basin, evaluate radiocarbon ages, and refine the conceptual model of the Santa Fe Group aquifer system. Hydrochemical zones, representing groundwater flow over thousands to tens of thousands of years, can be traced over large distances through the primarily siliciclastic aquifer system. The locations of the hydrochemical zones mostly reflect the “modern” predevelopment hydraulic-head distribution, but are inconsistent with a trough in predevelopment water levels in the west-central part of the basin, indicating that this trough...
San Pablo Bay is an estuary, within northern San Francisco Bay, containing elevated sediment mercury (Hg) levels because of historic loading of hydraulic mining debris during the California gold-rush of the late 1800s. A preliminary investigation of benthic microbial Hg cycling was conducted in surface sediment (0-4 cm) collected from one salt-marsh and three open-water sites. A deeper profile (0-26 cm) was evaluated at one of the open-water locations. Radiolabeled model Hg-compounds were used to measure rates of both methylmercury (MeHg) production and degradation by bacteria. While all sites and depths had similar total-Hg concentrations (0.3-0.6 ppm), and geochemical signatures of mining debris (as ) Nd, range:...
The reactive transport of U(VI) in a well-characterized shallow alluvial aquifer at a former U(VI) mill located near Naturita, CO, was predicted for comparative purposes using a surface complexation model (SCM) and a constant K d approach to simulate U(VI) adsorption. The ground water at the site had U(VI) concentrations that ranged from 0.01 to 20 µM, alkalinities that ranged from 2.5 to 18 meq/L, and a nearly constant pH of 7.1. The SCM used to simulate U(VI) adsorption was previously determined independently using laboratory batch adsorption experiments. Simulations obtained using the SCM approach were compared with simulations that used a constant K d approach to simulate adsorption using previously determined...
Environmental age tracers have been used in various ways to help assess vulnerability of drinking-water production wells to contamination. The most appropriate approach will depend on the information that is available and that which is desired. To understand how the well will respond to changing nonpoint-source contaminant inputs at the water table, some representation of the distribution of groundwater ages in the well is needed. Such information for production wells is sparse and difficult to obtain, especially in areas lacking detailed field studies. In this study, age distributions derived from detailed groundwater-flow models with advective particle tracking were compared with those generated from lumped-parameter...
Mercury and organic carbon concentrations vary dynamically in streamwater at the Sleepers River Research Watershed in Vermont, USA. Total mercury (THg) concentrations ranged from 0.53 to 93.8 ng/L during a 3-year period of study. The highest mercury (Hg) concentrations occurred slightly before peak flows and were associated with the highest organic carbon (OC) concentrations. Dissolved Hg (DHg) was the dominant form in the upland catchments; particulate Hg (PHg) dominated in the lowland catchments. The concentration of hydrophobic acid (HPOA), the major component of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), explained 41–98% of the variability of DHg concentration while DOC flux explained 68–85% of the variability in DHg flux,...
Mercury and organic carbon concentrations vary dynamically in streamwater at the Sleepers River Research Watershed in Vermont, USA. Total mercury (THg) concentrations ranged from 0.53 to 93.8 ng/L during a 3-year period of study. The highest mercury (Hg) concentrations occurred slightly before peak flows and were associated with the highest organic carbon (OC) concentrations. Dissolved Hg (DHg) was the dominant form in the upland catchments; particulate Hg (PHg) dominated in the lowland catchments. The concentration of hydrophobic acid (HPOA), the major component of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), explained 41–98% of the variability of DHg concentration while DOC flux explained 68–85% of the variability in DHg flux,...
A numerical representation that explicitly represents the generalized three-dimensional anisotropy of folded fractured-sedimentary rocks in a groundwater model best reproduces the salient features of the flow system in the Shenandoah Valley, USA. This conclusion results from a comparison of four alternative representations of anisotropy in which the hydraulic-conductivity tensor represents the bedrock structure as (model A) anisotropic with variable strikes and dips, (model B) horizontally anisotropic with a uniform strike, (model C) horizontally anisotropic with variable strikes, and (model D) isotropic. Simulations using the US Geological Survey groundwater flow and transport model SUTRA are based on a representation...
Mercury and organic carbon concentrations vary dynamically in streamwater at the Sleepers River Research Watershed in Vermont, USA. Total mercury (THg) concentrations ranged from 0.53 to 93.8 ng/L during a 3-year period of study. The highest mercury (Hg) concentrations occurred slightly before peak flows and were associated with the highest organic carbon (OC) concentrations. Dissolved Hg (DHg) was the dominant form in the upland catchments; particulate Hg (PHg) dominated in the lowland catchments. The concentration of hydrophobic acid (HPOA), the major component of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), explained 41–98% of the variability of DHg concentration while DOC flux explained 68–85% of the variability in DHg flux,...
Halite brine (saturation ranging from 45 to 80%) lies within glacial sediments that fill the Onondaga Trough, a bedrock valley deepened by Pleistocene glaciation near Syracuse, New York State, USA. The most concentrated brine occupies the northern end of the trough, about 10 km downgradient of the northern limit of halite beds in the Silurian Salina Group, the assumed source of salt. The chemical composition of the brine and its radiocarbon age suggest that the brine originally formed about 16,700 years ago through dissolution of halite by glacial melt water and later mixed with saline bedrock water. Two hypotheses regarding the formation of the brine pool were tested through variable-density flow simulations using...
Spring snowmelt is the most important contribution of many rivers in western North America. If climate changes, this contribution may change. A shift in the timing of springtime snowmelt towards earlier in the year already is observed during 1948–2000 in many western rivers. Streamflow timingchanges for the 1995–2099 period are projected using regression relationsbetween observed streamflow-timing responses in each river, measured by the temporal centroid of streamflow (CT) each year, and local temperature (TI) and precipitation (PI) indices. Under 21st century warming trends predicted by the Parallel Climate Model (PCM) under business-as-usual greenhouse-gas emissions, streamflow timing trends across much of western...
California’s mountainous topography, exposure to occasional heavily moisture-laden storm systems, and varied communities and infrastructures in low lying areas make it highly vulnerable to floods. An important question facing the state—in terms of protecting the public and formulating water management responses to climate change—is “how might future climate changes affect flood characteristics in California?” To help address this, we simulate floods on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the state’s primary catchment, based on downscaled daily precipitation and temperature projections from three General Circulation Models (GCMs). These climate projections are fed into the Variable Infiltration Capacity...
To determine whether NO 3 − concentration pulses in surface water in early spring snowmelt discharge are due to atmospheric NO 3 − , we analyzed stream δ 15 N-NO 3 − and δ 18 O-NO 3 − values between February and June of 2001 and 2002 and compared them to those of throughfall, bulk precipitation, snow, and groundwater. Stream total Al, DOC and Si concentrations were used to indicate preferential water flow through the forest floor, mineral soil, and ground water. The study was conducted in a 135-ha subcatchment of the Arbutus Watershed in the Huntington Wildlife Forest in the Adirondack Region of New York State, U.S.A. Stream discharge in 2001 increased from 0.6 before to 32.4 mm day −1 during snowmelt, and element...
Approximately 300 kg/day of food-grade CO 2 was injected through a perforated pipe placed horizontally 2–2.3 m deep during July 9–August 7, 2008 at the MSU-ZERT field test to evaluate atmospheric and near-surface monitoring and detection techniques applicable to the subsurface storage and potential leakage of CO 2 . As part of this multidisciplinary research project, 80 samples of water were collected from 10 shallow monitoring wells (1.5 or 3.0 m deep) installed 1–6 m from the injection pipe, at the southwestern end of the slotted section (zone VI), and from two distant monitoring wells. The samples were collected before, during, and following CO 2 injection. The main objective of study was to investigate changes...
Calcium concentration and calcite supersaturation (Ω) needed for calcium carbonate nucleation and crystal growth in Pyramid Lake (PL) surface water were determined during August of 1997, 2000, and 2001. PL surface water has Ω values of 10–16. Notwithstanding high Ω, calcium carbonate growth did not occur on aragonite single crystals suspended PL surface water for several months. However, calcium solution addition to PL surface-water samples caused reproducible calcium carbonate mineral nucleation and crystal growth. Mean PL surface-water calcium concentration at nucleation was 2.33 mM ( n = 10), a value about nine times higher than the ambient PL surface-water calcium concentration (0.26 mM); mean Ω at nucleation...
Quantitative evaluation of management strategies for long-term supply of safe groundwater for drinking from the Bengal Basin aquifer (India and Bangladesh) requires estimation of the large-scale hydrogeologic properties that control flow. The Basin consists of a stratified, heterogeneous sequence of sediments with aquitards that may separate aquifers locally, but evidence does not support existence of regional confining units. Considered at a large scale, the Basin may be aptly described as a single aquifer with higher horizontal than vertical hydraulic conductivity. Though data are sparse, estimation of regional-scale aquifer properties is possible from three existing data types: hydraulic heads, 14 C concentrations,...