Geochemical behaviour of Radium isotopes and Radon in a coastal thermal system (Balaruc-les-Bains, South of France)

Abstract : The behaviour of the four Ra isotopes (measured by gamma spectrometry) and 222Rn (measured with an AlphaGUARD ionisation chamber) has been investigated in NaCl-rich thermal waters of Balaruc-les-Bains on the Mediterranean coast (South of France). This study allows identification of the deep thermal water signature and reveals the influence of seawater or karst water inflows on Ra isotopes and 222Rn. The deep thermal water has 226Ra and 222Rn activities of 840 and 1900 mBq/l, respectively, a (228Ra/226Ra) activity ratio of 0.59, and low (224Ra/228Ra) and (223Ra/226Ra) ratios of 0.67 and 0.025, respectively. Several arguments suggest a dominant role of radioactive decay for short-lived Ra isotopes and Rn during the relatively rapid ascent of thermal water through wide open fractures and drains. The low (223Ra/226Ra) ratio constrains the maximum ascent velocity of thermal water to 8-10 m/h. Seawater inflow into the hydrothermal system results in an enrichment in short-lived Ra isotopes and 222Rn. The high (223Ra/226Ra) ratio (0.23) suggests that 223Ra, 224Ra and 222Rn produced by alpha-recoil in the upper-Jurassic limestone are entrained by seawater percolation through the coastal basement, due to active pumping in one of the near shore production well. This process would be enhanced by a low water/rock ratio (i.e. in a low-porosity, micro-fractured limestone). Mixing of this enriched seawater with thermal water induces barite precipitation with co-precipitation of a large fraction of Ra. Short-lived Ra isotopes may thus be useful tracers of seawater flux towards the continent. Conversely, the inflow and mixing of karst groundwater result in a general dilution of all dissolved elements, only a small enrichment in 224Ra and 223Ra, but a large enrichment in 222Rn (up to 26 Bq/l). The combination of Ra isotopes and 222Rn data provides a good way to trace the dynamics of different water masses along coastal areas.
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Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Elsevier, 2012, 98, pp.160-176. 〈10.1016/j.gca.2012.09.010〉
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Soumis le : jeudi 28 février 2013 - 12:06:30
Dernière modification le : vendredi 11 janvier 2019 - 15:10:04

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Michel Condomines, Elian Gourdin, Delphine Gataniou, Jean-Luc Seidel. Geochemical behaviour of Radium isotopes and Radon in a coastal thermal system (Balaruc-les-Bains, South of France). Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Elsevier, 2012, 98, pp.160-176. 〈10.1016/j.gca.2012.09.010〉. 〈hal-00795512〉

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