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Tracing Suspended Sediment in the Subsurface Using Beryllium-7 Isotope


As water that flows through areas of limestone, karst inevitably develops creating sinking streams that transport alumino-silicate Previous HitsoilNext Hit particles from the surface into the subsurface. Sediment budget studies on short term scales through karst are rare. Thus, a feasibility study using beryllium-7 that attaches to Previous HitsoilNext Hit particles and can thus be used as a short-term tracer of sediment movement in karst is proposed.

Sediment and Previous HitsoilNext Hit samples were collected from the Green River Basin, both on the surface and in the subsurface along a cave stream. Samples were collected prior to and immediately after a recharge event that transported sediment into the subsurface. The pre-event samples were analyzed for the activity of beryllium-7 to establish a baseline activity for the isotope. The post-event samples that were collected from the same locations as the pre-event samples were collected, and then analyzed beryllium-7 activity as well. The expectation is that the activity of beryllium-7 will be higher in the samples collected after the recharge event and will show that beryllium-7 is a viable short-term sediment tracer through karst systems. Grain size analysis on a representative number of the samples will be performed in order to find correlation between grain surface area and beryllium-7 absorption rate to Previous HitsoilTop particles to examine the effectiveness of beryllium-7.