Chapter 6 : Noble gases as environmental tracers in sediment porewaters and in stalagmite fluid inclusions

by M. S. Brennwald, N. Vogel, Y. Scheidegger, Y. Tomonaga, D. M. Livingstone and R. Kipfer

In well-studied aquatic systems such as surface waters and groundwater, noble gases are used extensively as natural tracers to reconstruct palaeoenvironmental conditions, to study transport and mixing, and to identify the geochemical origin of geogenic fluids. It has been suggested that less well-studied aquatic systems such as the porewaters of lacustrine and oceanic sediments and the fluid inclusions present in stalagmites might also be suitable as noble gas archives for environmental studies, but until recently the lack of adequate experimental techniques had hindered the development of noble gas geochemistry in these systems. This chapter reviews recent technical advances in this field and describes the scientific applications that these advances have made possible. The porewaters of lacustrine and oceanic sediments are now well established as noble gas archives in studies of temperature, salinity and mixing conditions that prevailed in the overlying water body in the past, as well as in studies of the transport and origin of solutes and pore fluids in the sediment. The geochemistry of noble gases in stalagmite fluid inclusions is still in the early stages of development. However, the results available to date suggest that stalagmite fluid inclusions have great potential as a noble gas archive in reconstructing palaeoclimatic conditions near caves with suitable stalagmites.

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Chapter 6

11 mai 2012
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11.6 Mo