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Geochemical Tracing of Potential Hydraulic Connections between Groundwater and Run-Off Water in Northeastern Kansas, USA

Abstract : This study is focused on establishing the extent of potential hydraulic connections of local lowland aquifers with the runoff waters of a nearby creek and two major rivers in and around Fort Riley in northeastern Kansas, USA. It is based on collective evidence by combining the contents of several major and trace elements of the waters with their oxygen, hydrogen and Sr isotopic compositions. The area of investigation is located a few miles to the west of the Kansas Konza Prairie, which is a United States designated site for regular monitoring of ecological and environmental configurations. The δ 18 O and δD of the runoff waters from the two rivers and the creek, and of the ground waters from local aquifers are almost identical. Relative to the General Meteoric Water Line, the δ 18 O-δD data have a tendency to deviate towards relatively lower δ 18 O values, as do generally the sub-surface waters of intra-continental basins. The observed stable isotope compositions for these waters preclude any significant impact by either an evapo-transpiration process by the vegetation, or an interaction with immediate mineral-rock matrices. The 87 Sr/ 86 Sr ratios of the aquifer waters collected from wells close to the Kansas River were markedly different from those of the river waters, confirming a lack of hydraulic interactions between the aquifers and the river. On the contrary, ground waters from wells at a relative distance from the Kansas River have 87 Sr/ 86 Sr ratios, Sr contents and Sr/Ca ratios that are similar to those of the river water, suggesting a hydraulic connection between these aquifers and the river, as well as a lack of any impact of the vegetation. An underground water supply from nearby Summer Hill located to the north of the study area has also been detected, except for its western border where no interactions occurred apparently between the aquifer waters and the reservoir rocks, or with the creek and river waters. The 87 Sr/ 86 Sr signatures of the ground waters suggest also a major east-west flow system in the study area that can be divided into three entities, together with a supplementary north-south trend along the Threemile creek towards the Kansas River.
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Norbert Clauer, Isabelle Techer, Sam Chaudhuri. Geochemical Tracing of Potential Hydraulic Connections between Groundwater and Run-Off Water in Northeastern Kansas, USA. Hydrology, MDPI, 2017, 4 (4), pp.56. ⟨10.3390/hydrology4040056⟩. ⟨hal-03102643⟩

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