Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Natural Radioactivity Used To Determine Seasonal Changes In Groundwater Supply

Date:
November 22, 2002
Source:
University Of Rhode Island
Summary:
The discharge of groundwater to coastal waters represents an important source of dissolved nutrients and contaminants that may affect chemical and biological processes in coastal ecosystems. New research describes how they used radium isotopes as tracers to determine seasonal changes in groundwater input to the Pettasquamscutt estuary from June 1999 to June 2000.

The discharge of groundwater to coastal waters represents an important source of dissolved nutrients and contaminants that may affect chemical and biological processes in coastal ecosystems. In a journal article published in a recent issue of Limnology and Oceanography, URI Graduate School of Oceanography chemical oceanographers Roger P. Kelly and S. Bradley Moran describe how they used radium isotopes as tracers to determine seasonal changes in groundwater input to the Pettasquamscutt estuary from June 1999 to June 2000.

Radioactive isotopes of the naturally occurring element radium have recently been used as tracers of groundwater input to coastal zones. None of these studies, however, have evaluated seasonal changes in groundwater input. Measuring seasonal changes, as opposed to total input over the course of a year, provides scientists and managers with a more accurate understanding of coastal ecosystems as well as information about the periods of greatest impact over the annual cycle.

The Pettasquamscutt estuary, locally known as the Narrow River, is located adjacent to Narragansett Bay in southern Rhode Island and discharges into Rhode Island Sound. The estuary is approximately 6.5 miles long and has an average depth of 6 feet. Previous studies of the Pettasquamscutt estuary have determined that up to 50% of the freshwater input may be from groundwater.

Radium isotopes in the groundwater of the Pettasquamscutt are derived naturally from the weathering of the underlying metasediment and granite bedrock within the watershed. Using a mathematical model that considers the exchange of water between the river and Rhode Island Sound, the amount of radium desorbed from particles suspended in the water, and groundwater supply, Kelly and Moran observed seasonal changes in groundwater input to the estuary by measuring the excess radium derived from groundwater.

They determined that groundwater input was highest in the summer, lowest in the winter, and intermediate in the spring and fall. Kelly and Moran also estimated the quantity of inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus supplied by groundwater. They speculate that seasonal changes in groundwater supply of these nutrients may influence the occurrence of phytoplankton bloom events in such coastal systems through the annual cycle.

"There is a real need for reliable data on groundwater supply as demands on fresh water reservoirs continue to increase," said Moran.

The article appeared in issue 47(6) of Limnology and Oceanography (2002), pages 1796-1807.



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Rhode Island. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Rhode Island. "Natural Radioactivity Used To Determine Seasonal Changes In Groundwater Supply." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 November 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/11/021122073606.htm>.
University Of Rhode Island. (2002, November 22). Natural Radioactivity Used To Determine Seasonal Changes In Groundwater Supply. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/11/021122073606.htm
University Of Rhode Island. "Natural Radioactivity Used To Determine Seasonal Changes In Groundwater Supply." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/11/021122073606.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: 12 More Bodies Found on Japan Volcano

Raw: 12 More Bodies Found on Japan Volcano

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) — A dozen more bodies were found Wednesday as Japanese rescuers resumed efforts to find survivors and retrieve bodies of those trapped by Mount Ontake's eruption. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Trapped Scientist Rescued from Cave in Peru

Raw: Trapped Scientist Rescued from Cave in Peru

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) — A Spanish scientist, who spent 12 days trapped about 1300 feet underground in a cave in Peru's remote Amazon region, was rescued on Tuesday. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Media, Industry Groups React To Calif. Plastic Bag Ban

Media, Industry Groups React To Calif. Plastic Bag Ban

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — California is the first state in the country to ban single-use plastic bags in grocery, liquor and convenience stores. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins