Groundwater Geochemistry and Isotopes  book cover
1st Edition

Groundwater Geochemistry and Isotopes

ISBN 9781466591738
Published April 13, 2015 by CRC Press
456 Pages 211 B/W Illustrations

USD $160.00

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Book Description

Understand the Environmental Processes That Control Groundwater Quality

The integration of environmental isotopes with geochemical studies is now recognized as a routine approach to solving problems of natural and contaminated groundwater quality. Advanced sampling and analytical methods are readily accessible and affordable, providing abundant geochemical and isotope data for high spatial resolution and high frequency time series. Groundwater Geochemistry and Isotopes provides the theoretical understanding and interpretive methods and contains a useful chapter presenting the basics of sampling and analysis.

This text teaches the thermodynamic basis and principal reactions involving the major ions, gases and isotopes during groundwater recharge, weathering and redox evolution. Subsequent chapters apply these principles in hands-on training for dating young groundwaters with tritium and helium and ancient systems with radiocarbon, radiohalides and noble gases, and for tracing reactions of the major contaminants of concern in groundwaters.

  • Covers the basics of solutes, gases and isotopes in water, and concentration-activity relationships and reactions
  • Describes tracing the water cycle, weathering, and the geochemical evolution of water quality
  • Explores dating groundwater as young as a few years to over hundreds of millions of years
  • Uses case studies to demonstrate the application of geochemistry and isotopes for contaminated groundwaters

Accessible to consultants and practitioners as well as undergraduates, Groundwater Geochemistry and Isotopes presents the basics of environmental isotopes and geochemistry, and provides you with a full understanding of their use in natural and contaminated groundwater.

Table of Contents

Groundwater Geochemistry and Isotopes


Water, Rocks, and Solutes

The Nature of Water

Solutes in Water

From Elements to Aquifers


Thermodynamics of Aqueous Systems


Mass Action

Ion Activity and Equilibrium Constants

Electron Activity and Redox

Speciation and Mineral Solubility Codes

Mass Transfer Models


Geochemical Reactions


Dissociation Reactions

Redox Reactions

Gases in Groundwater

CO2 and Dissolved Inorganic Carbon


Isotope Reactions


Stable Isotope Fractionation and Distillation



Tracing the Water Cycle


Temperature–δ18O Correlation in Precipitation

Meteoric Water Line for δ18O and δD

Temperature Effects in Precipitation

Groundwater Recharge

Isotope Effects of Evaporation

Multicomponent Groundwater Mixing

Rock–Water–Gas Interaction


CO2 and Weathering


CO2 and the Carbon Cycle

Soil CO2 and Weathering

Carbonate Weathering

Weathering in Silicate Terrains

Weathering and 13C of Dissolved Inorganic Carbon

Weathering and Alkalinity

Advanced Chemical Weathering: Saprolites and Laterites


Geochemical Evolution


Ion Exchange Surfaces in Aquifers

Cation Exchange


Redox Evolution in Groundwaters

Salinity in Groundwater

Graphical Presentation of Geochemical Evolution


Groundwater Dating


Groundwater Age and Mean Residence Time

Anthropogenic Tracers of Modern Groundwater

Tritium–3He Dating

Dating Submodern Groundwaters

Radiocarbon Dating Old Groundwater

Stable Isotopes and Noble Gases in Paleogroundwaters

Dating Very Old Groundwater


Contaminant Geochemistry and Isotopes


Nitrogen Species and Groundwater Contamination

Organic Carbon Compounds

Degradation of Fuel Oxygenates: MTBE and Ethanol

Biodegradation of Organohalogens

Abiotic Degradation of Organochlorine Compounds in Permeable Reactive Barriers

Fugitive Gases

Landfill Leachate

Acid Mine Drainage


Base Metals in Groundwater

Salinity in Groundwater


Nuclear Waste

Sampling and Analysis


Field Measurements


Electrical Conductivity


Redox Potential

Field Filtering

Alkalinity Titrations

Major Ion Geochemistry

Major Anions (Cl–, F–, SO4–, NO3–, Br –)

Major Cations, Minor and Trace Metals


Sulfate and Hydrogen Sulfid

Isotopes in Water

δ 18O and δD in Water


Dissolved Carbon

DOC and DOC Concentration and 13C


Nitrogen Species Isotopes

NO315N and 18O


Sulfur Species Isotopes

SO4 2– 34S and 18O

H2S – 34S

Isotopes of the Halides





Isotopes of Minor Elements


Effervescing Gases

Dissolved Gases


Noble Gases

Water Samples

Passive Gas Diffusion Samplers




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Ian Clark is a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Ottawa. He completed a bachelor of science in earth sciences and a master of science in hydrogeology at the University of Waterloo followed by his doctoral degree at the Université de Paris-Sud (Orsay) in isotope hydrogeology and paleoclimatology. Since his earliest work on geothermal systems in western Canada, Dr. Clark’s research has focused on the integration of geochemistry and isotopes to address questions on the origin, age, and geochemical history of groundwater and solutes in natural and contaminated settings. He and his colleagues recently established the Advanced Research Complex for geosciences at the University of Ottawa hosting labs for accelerator mass spectrometry, stable isotopes, noble gases and geochemistry.


"The book is very clearly written, and each chapter provides students and long-time practitioners with practical examples and essential information needed for understanding and applying isotopic and geochemical principles to their research. Groundwater Geochemistry and Isotopes will be an essential resource for all students of isotopes and aqueous geochemistry."
–Dr. Leonard Wassenaar, International Atomic Energy Agency

"The author combines geochemistry and environmental isotopes quite nicely. He uses short and rather simple explanations (not an easy task) with many practical examples. …I am sure this new book will become a standard reference on groundwater geochemistry and isotopes as a basis for solving problems of groundwater quality, and will meet expectations for use by graduate students and scientists on groundwater conditions."
—Alfonso Rivera, Geological Survey of Canada

"Throughout the text Clark provides many problems and examples. I especially found the real-world examples interesting and illuminating. If you have any interest in geochemical applications of isotopes, this is the book for you."
Groundwater, December 2015

"Language use is relatively simple and accessible. Included in each chapter, in addition to theoretical knowledge, are examples of calculations and interpretation of research results, as well as sets of tasks and questions. This approach facilitates its use as a manual and makes it especially useful for students. The book is a compendium of current knowledge of isotopes and geochemistry, and I can recommend it to all students and researchers who are interested in isotopes and aqueous geochemistry."
Geologos Vol. 23, No. 1, 2017