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WRRCTR No. 53 Tritium and Radiocarbon in Hawaiian Natural Waters: Part I

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Title:WRRCTR No. 53 Tritium and Radiocarbon in Hawaiian Natural Waters: Part I
Authors:Hufen, Theodorus H.
Buddemeier, Robert W.
Lau, L. Stephen
LC Subject Headings:Carbon -- Isotopes.
Hydrology -- Hawaii -- Oahu.
Radioisotopes in hydrology.
Date Issued:Nov 1971
Publisher:Water Resources Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Citation:Hufen TH, Buddemeier RW, Lau LS. 1971. Tritium and radiocarbon in Hawaiian natural waters: Part I. Honolulu (HI): Water Resources Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa. WRRC technical report, 53.
Series:WRRC Technical Reports
Abstract:A field investigation was undertaken to establish the present tritium and radiocarbon activity levels of natural waters found in various parts of the island of Oahu. The instrumentation required for the radiocarbon analysis was assembled and workable procedures were developed. Monthly rainwater samples obtained from rain gages on the Koolau Range contained seasonally fluctuating tritium concentrations which are well in excess of the natural abundance level. Excess concentrations were also found for the tritium and radiocarbon content of surface waters from three separate sources. These excess concentrations are the result of fallout from atmospheric nuclear explosions. Samples from nine tunnels, which tap various Koolau dike compartments, contained tritium activities ranging from the current rainwater levels down to the pre-nuclear explosion levels. Most samples showed radiocarbon activities comparable to pre-explosion atmospheric C02 levels. Two samples, however, showed excess radiocarbon. Samples from wells and shafts tapping basal water in the Honolulu area generally showed little or no tritium and their radiocarbon concentrations were lower than those of the dike-water samples. Makiki, Booth, and Roseapple Springs, which discharge perched water, exhibited tritium levels slightly in excess of the contemporary rain water levels. Nuclear explosion radiocarbon was present at Makiki Spring whereas it was absent at Booth Spring. Correlations between radiocarbon and chloride content were found for samples from Central Oahu and the Pearl Harbor area. The magnitude of both constituents were moreover a function of the distance between the sample source and Pearl Harbor. Three multiple depth samples from well T-133 at Ewa Beach showed very low radiocarbon content. These results can be evidences of radioactive decay of the radiocarbon thus indicating very long residence times of these waters. Exchange reactions between the water-carbonates and the radiocarbon-free aquifer carbonates can lead to the same results however. The discovery of a linear relationship between the radiocarbon activity and chloride contents of these samples indicates that chemical exchange reactions have taken place.
Pages/Duration:vi + 54 pages
Appears in Collections: WRRC Project Reports

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