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EESS talk on "Noble gas analysis in conventional and unconventional aquatic environments - a plea for simplicity"


Event details

Date and time 03.12.2019 12:1513:00  
Place and room
Speaker Dr Rolf Kipfer, Research scientist, Head of the Dept. of Water Resources and Drinking Water, Eawag and Professor, Institute for Biogeochemistry and Pollution Dynamics, Department of Environmental System Science (D-USYS), ETH Zurich
Category Conferences - Seminars
Atmospheric noble gases enter aquatic systems by gas / water partitioning. Therefore, aquatic noble gas concentrations in waters reflect the physical conditions prevailing during gas exchange.
Consequently, applications of dissolved atmospheric noble gases are constrained to the analysis of gas partitioning processes between phases, but also allow the reconstruction of past environmental / climate conditions.
These concepts in concert with the mechanistic understanding of the gas / water partitioning in porous media allow e.g. to reconstruct ground water recharge in Northern America in response to the last glaciation [1, 2].

Most recently novel experimental methods enable to analyse the noble gas concentrations in minute amounts of water (< 1 mg) [3, 4] and to determine (noble) gas concentrations in various terrestrial fluids online under field conditions [5, 6].
The first method allows to retrieve past environmental information from noble gases in fluid inclusions in speleothems whereas the second method yields information on the possible effect of CH4 formation on the mobilization on As in ground waters of Vietnam.
The presentation aims to summarize and to comment our recent developments on the application of atmospheric noble gases to study aquatic environments.
[1]  Klump S. et al. (2008), Geology, 36, 395-396.
[2]  Grundl T. et al. (2013) Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 369-370, 78-85.
[3]  Vogel, N. et al. (2013) Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 14, 2432-2444.
[4]  Ghadiri, E. et al. (2018) Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 495, 192-201.
[5]  Mächler L. et al. (2012) Environ. Sci. Technol., 46, 8288-8296.
[6]  Brennwald M. S. et al. (2016) Environ. Sci. Technol., 50, 13455-13463.


Practical information

  • General public
  • Free
  • This event is internal


  • EESS - IIE


  • Prof. Urs von Gunten, LTQE


Noble gases transient (gas) tracer air/gas-water partitioning physics in aquatic systems