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Comparison of Uranium Isotopes and Classical Geochemical Tracers in Karst Aquifer of Ljubljanica River catchment (Slovenia)

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Department of Environmental Sciences, Jožef Stefan Institute, Jamova 39, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
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Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School, Jamova 39, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
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School of Environmental Sciences, University of Nova Gorica, Glavni trg 8, SI-5271 Vipava, Slovenia
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Karst Research Institute, Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Titov trg 2, SI-6230 Postojna, Slovenia
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Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute, Dimičeva 12, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
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Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering, University of Ljubljana, Jamova 2, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(7), 2064; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12072064
Received: 17 June 2020 / Revised: 16 July 2020 / Accepted: 17 July 2020 / Published: 21 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Hydrology)
The karst aquifer of the Ljubljanica River catchment, which has numerous springs and sinks, presents an interesting environment for studying hydrogeological processes. This study aims to explore the behavior of U isotopes and to evaluate their use as tracers of hydrogeochemical processes as an alternative to classical geochemical tracers (i.e., physicochemical parameters, elemental ratios, and alkalinity) involved in water–rock interactions and water flow in this karst water system. Basic hydrochemical parameters, as well as the spatiotemporal variations of total U concentrations, 234U/238U activity ratios, and δ238U values, were monitored in water samples from springs and sinks under different hydrological conditions. The bedrock as the source of dissolved and detrital U was also analyzed. Multi-collector inductively couple plasma-mass spectrometry results reveal variations of the 234U/238U activity ratios, which are consistently negatively correlated with the discharge at most analyzed sites. Large 238U/235U isotope fractionation occurred during bedrock weathering, and the large variability of the measured δ238U values is seemingly unrelated to the lithological characteristics of the bedrock or discharge. Our results confirm that 234U/238U activity ratios in water can be used as a tracer for studying changes in groundwater flows and the mixing of waters of different origins under different hydrological conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: karst aquifer; uranium isotopes; groundwater; Ljubljanica River catchment karst aquifer; uranium isotopes; groundwater; Ljubljanica River catchment
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MDPI and ACS Style

Rovan, L.; Lojen, S.; Zuliani, T.; Kanduč, T.; Petrič, M.; Horvat, B.; Rusjan, S.; Štrok, M. Comparison of Uranium Isotopes and Classical Geochemical Tracers in Karst Aquifer of Ljubljanica River catchment (Slovenia). Water 2020, 12, 2064. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12072064

AMA Style

Rovan L, Lojen S, Zuliani T, Kanduč T, Petrič M, Horvat B, Rusjan S, Štrok M. Comparison of Uranium Isotopes and Classical Geochemical Tracers in Karst Aquifer of Ljubljanica River catchment (Slovenia). Water. 2020; 12(7):2064. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12072064

Chicago/Turabian Style

Rovan, Leja, Sonja Lojen, Tea Zuliani, Tjaša Kanduč, Metka Petrič, Barbara Horvat, Simon Rusjan, and Marko Štrok. 2020. "Comparison of Uranium Isotopes and Classical Geochemical Tracers in Karst Aquifer of Ljubljanica River catchment (Slovenia)" Water 12, no. 7: 2064. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12072064

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