Special Issue "Isotope Geochemistry of Meteoric Waters"

A special issue of Geosciences (ISSN 2076-3263). This special issue belongs to the section "Geochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Zoltán Kern

Institute for Geological and Geochemical Research, Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences, MTA, Hungary
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Interests: isotopes in precipitation and atmospheric vapour; quaternary climate and environmental changes; statistical analysis of isotopic time series
Guest Editor
Dr. István Fórizs

Institute for Geological and Geochemical Research, Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences, MTA, Hungary
Website | E-Mail
Interests: hydrogeology; isotope hydrogeochemistry; stable isotopes; mixing processes; origin of mineral waters

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Water is a vital substance for life and both its quality and quantity are crucial issues.

Environmental isotopes have been extensively used for decades to address key aspects of the water cycle, such as the study of the origin, dynamics and interconnections of, for example, groundwater, surface water, and the atmosphere. This Special Issue aims to gather high-quality original research articles and reviews on recent advances in the understanding of isotope geochemistry of meteoric waters, including stable water isotope characteristics (δ18O, δ2H, d-excess, 17O-excess) of both precipitation and waters with clear meteoric origin (such as infiltrated waters and surface waters), wide spectra of light stable isotopes of dissolved species (such as sulfate, nitrate, carbonate, etc.). Regarding of the crucial information of age in water cycles contributions dealing with radioactive isotopes (3H, 14C, 81Kr, etc.) and radiogenic (4He, etc.) isotopes are also welcomed. This Special Issue invites contributions from all areas where isotope geochemical methods have been applied recently to hydrological/hydrogeological/hydrometeorological problems.

It is recommended that potentially-interested contributors approach the Guest Editors at an early stage about possible submissions in order to verify the appropriateness of their proposed study. If appropriate, an abstract will be requested, and the corresponding author required to submit the full manuscript online by the deadline of 30 September 2018.

Dr. Zoltán Kern
Dr. István Fórizs
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 550 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • environmental isotopes
  • precipitation
  • residence time and transit time
  • dating of water bodies
  • tracing the water cycle
  • recharge and discharge processes
  • mixing processes
  • water pools with different origin
  • hydrogeochemisty

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Authors: Aurel Persoiu et al.
Affiliation: Emil Racoviță Institute of Speleology, Romanian Academy, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Title: Temporal variations in d2H and d18O of Southern Alp Mountains precipitations recorded in the waters of the Cerveyrette river, Cervières valley, France
Christophe Lécuyer1,2,*, François Atrops1, François Fourel1, Magali Seris1, Valérie Daux3 and Philippe Davy4
1Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon, CNRS UMR 5276, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, 69622 Villeurbanne, France
2Institut Universitaire de France
3UMR CEA/CNRS/UVSQ 8212, LSCE, Université de Versailles – Saint-Quentin, France
4Géosciences Rennes, CNRS UMR 6118, OSUR, Campus de Beaulieu, Université de Rennes 1, 35042 Rennes, France
Abstract: The Alps Mountains play a major role in the water cycle at a regional scale in Europe. This mountain range acts as the ‘water tower’ of Europe by storing large volumes of ice and snow, and by regulating the runoff of the Rhine, Rhône, Danube and Pô rivers, which constitute freshwater reservoirs of critical value for the biodiversity and human activity. Waters were sampled from the Cerveyrette river upstream of the Cervières village (44°52’14”N–6°43’21”E; elevation = 1,620 m), which is located in the Upper Durance catchment area, French Southern Alps, 9 km east of the city of Briançon. Bordered by several mountains peaks (e.g. Col du Lautaret, Barre des Ecrins, Grand Pic de Rochebrune, Bric Bouchet), this watershed, which has an area of 96.4 km2, mainly comprises the Cerveyrette valley and a high-altitude swampy plain called “Plaine du Bourget”. The Cerveyrette river has a flow rate comprised between ≈ 2 and 4 m3.s-1 during spring and summer while it is as low as 0.3 to 0.5 m3.s-1 during autumn and winter. Cerveyrette waters were sampled monthly from August 2011 to July 2013 and their d2H and d18O (‰ VSMOW) range from -105 to -97 and from -15.0 to -13.8, respectively, while D-excess values lie between 11.1 and 19.3. Apparent cyclicality over these two years partly reflect seasonal variations in the isotopic compositions of precipitations that mainly occur as snow accumulating at altitudes ranging from ≈ 1,700 m to 3,300 m. Maximal D-excess values, which correspond to the highest d2H and d18O values of precipitations, record summer precipitations whose source is most likely a mixture of moisture mostly derived from the evaporation of local freshwater bodies (humid zones, lakes, wind-induced snow sublimation) and Mediterranean sea surface waters. The time lag of about 4 months observed between those summer precipitations and their sampling in the Cerveyrette river at the discharge point of the watershed corresponds to the mean transfer time of the water discharge. Consequently, the stable isotope compositions of river waters that sample high-altitude watersheds, and whose the hydrological regime is under the control of the spring-summer snow melting, can be used to estimate the transfer time from the sources of the waterways to the discharge points of the catchment area.

Title: Intrusion of saline water into a coastal aquifer containing palaeogroundwater in northern Estonia
Joonas Pärn1, Andres Marandi1, Maile Polikarpus1, Valle Raidla1, Siim Tarros1, Argo Jõeleht2 and Raul Paat2
1Department of Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology, Geological Survey of Estonia, Rakvere, Estonia
2Department of Geology, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia
Abstract: Cambrian-Vendian aquifer system (Cm-V) in the northern part of the Baltic Artesian Basin contains fresh Na-Mg-Cl-HCO3 type groundwater originated from glacial meltwater recharge from the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet that covered the area in the Pleistocene (Vaikmäe et al. 2001; Raidla et al. 2009; Raidla et al. 2012). This groundwater is characterized by most depleted isotopic composition recorded in Europe (δ18O values from −18.5‰ to −23%, Vaikmäe et al. 2001; Raidla et al. 2009). In the last 60 years this aquifer system has been extensively used for public water supply. Groundwater exploitation has led to drawdown of hydraulic heads down to about 15 meters below the pre-development levels (Perens et al. 2012; Erg et al. 2017). Although during the last 25 years the groundwater consumption has decreased and hydraulic heads in most areas have slowly recovered, there are areas where recent increase in population has increased groundwater consumption. The changes in hydraulic head have led to changes in water quality and to an increase in salinity. The increase in salinity is exemplified by an increase in chloride from the natural baseline level of ~200 mg/L to 400 mg/L and occasionally up to 750 mg/L. In some areas the isotopic composition of water has also changed leading to deviations from the Global Meteoric Water Line (GMWL) to which the glacial palaeogroundwater naturally falls. The exact origin of the saline water entering the aquifer system is not clear at present (Figure 1). Up to 90 m thick sequence of overlying Lower-Cambrian claystone (Lontova aquitard) separate the Cm-V aquifer system from shallow aquifers and modern recharge. The rocks forming the aquifer system outcrop under the Baltic Sea which makes seawater intrusion a plausible source of salinity. However, previous studies have shown that the increased salinity in the Cm-V aquifer system could also originate from saline water residing in the weathered upper part of the crystalline basement that directly underlies the aquifer system (Karro et al. 2004; Raidla et al., 2012; Suursoo et al. 2017). In addition, some saline water can be drawn into the shallower parts of the aquifer system from its deeper southern parts. The situation is further complicated by the presence of ancient buried valleys filled with modern groundwater in Quaternary sediments that occasionally cut through the Lontova aquitard and Ediacaran sandstone hosting the Cm-V aquifer system (Figure 1). During groundwater consumption fresh modern groundwater can enter the aquifer system and mix with glacial palaeogroundwater. Here we present groundwater level data together with chemical and isotopic composition of groundwater in the Cm-V aquifer system from three coastal sites in northern Estonia – Kopli peninsula, Viimsi peninsula and Sillamäe area. Our aim is to elucidate whether the increase in salinity observed in these sites is related to seawater intrusion or rather to the intrusion of saline water from the crystalline basement or from the deeper parts of the aquifer system. This can be done by taking into account the differences in chemical and isotopic composition  in different saline water end-members (Figure 1) .. The δ18O values in the Gulf of Finland where the outcrop area of the aquifer bearing rocks is situated range from −7.0‰ to −7.7% (Fröhlich et al., 1988). On the other hand, the saline water in the underlying crystalline basement seems to have a depleted isotopic composition similar to the glacial palaeogroundwater in the aquifer system (Karro et al., 2004; Suursoo et al., 2017). The saline water in the deeper parts of the aquifer system is slightly enriched in δ18O compared to fresh glacial palaeogroundwater (values ~−15‰; Raidla et al., 2009) Additionally, the mixing of glacial palaeogroundwater with seawater can lead to deviations from the GMWL. Differences in chemical composition in saline water end-members (e.g. Br/Cl and Ca/Cl ratios) also help to trace the origin of salinity in the study area.

Authors: Marcello Liotta et al.
Affiliation: Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Italy

Authors: László Palcsu et al.
Affiliation: Isotope Climatology and Environmental Research Centre (ICER), MTA ATOMKI, Hungary

Authors: István Fórizs et al.
Affiliation: Institute for Geological and Geochemical Research, MTA, Hungary

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