A Rare Isotope Helps Track an Ancient Water Source

Use of this Web site signifies your agreement to the terms and conditions. Special Issues. Contact Us. This paper summarizes the principles of 81 Kr in groundwater dating and extraction method, presents the application of 81 Kr in groundwater dating and discusses the problems of recent related researches, makes prospects of studies of radionuclide in hydrogeology chemistry, and provide scientific support for the measurement of 81 Kr and the researches of old groundwater dating. Cook and A. Herczeg Eds. Mace E. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, , Applied Geochemistry, , Loosli H.

Facts About Krypton

Covering a story? Visit our page for journalists or call Get more with UChicago News delivered to your inbox. But beneath it is water that sustains the people and agriculture of the region. Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel are collaborating with colleagues at the University of Chicago and affiliated Argonne National Laboratory to better understand the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer system, which lies beneath a large portion of the Negev and other parts of Israel.

The result, detailed in a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , marks the first time that scientists have been able to use groundwater to build a picture of the water of ancient climates dating back that far.

Krypton dating is much like the more-heralded carbon dating It has a radioactive isotope (krypton) that decays very slowly, and a.

Deep groundwater samples from the Continental Intercalaire CI aquifer in the Northern Tunisian Sahara have been analyzed for noble gases 3He, 4He, Ne and 81Kr, and for 14C to better constrain the groundwater residence time of this large transboundary aquifer. Its significant radiogenic 4He content and background-level 14C both indicate water older than a few tens of thousands of years. Queue [“Typeset”,MathJax. The file s for this record are currently under an embargo. If you complete the attached form, we can attempt to contact the author and ask if they are willing to let us send you a copy for your personal research use only.

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Researchers Use Noble Gas Krypton to Precisely Date Antarctic Ice

This isotope is produced in the upper atmosphere by cosmic-ray-induced spallation and neutron-activation of stable krypton. The applicable age ranges of radio-isotope dating using 85 Kr, 39 Ar, 14 C, and 81 Kr. At an age much shorter than the half-life, the variation of the isotopic abundance becomes too small to be measured accurately. On the other hand, when the age is much longer than the half-life, the abundance itself becomes too small to be measured accurately.

Indeed, 81Kr is the ideal isotope for dating water and ice in the age range of 40 –1 years, a range beyond the reach of 14C dating.

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This work presents a system developed to analyze 81 Kr and 85 Kr from a few liters of air samples.


Thanks to exceedingly rare isotopes of krypton Kr and the innovative handiwork of researchers at the U. The results provide valuable information about the dynamics, flow rates and direction of water in aquifers, particularly those vital to arid regions. But now our goal is to make it part of the standard toolkit for hydrologists.

Properties, sources and uses of the element krypton. used a krypton isotope, krypton, with a half-life of , years to date ice cores in.

Getting reliable precipitation data from the past has proven difficult, as is predicting regional changes for climate models in the present. A combination of isotope techniques developed by researchers at Argonne and UChicago may help resolve both. The Negev desert, which covers half of Israel’s land mass, is so dry that parts of it get less than three inches of water a year.

So dry, its climatological term is “hyperarid. Today, despite its parched exterior, there is still water under the Negev. Understanding where it came from, how much is there, and what’s happening to it is critical to the security and allocation of that crucial resource. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago to better understand the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer system, which lies beneath a large portion of the Negev and other parts of Israel.

By combining Argonne’s pioneering radiokrypton dating technique with other isotopic fingerprints of the water’s composition, the researchers are not only able to tell when that water was deposited, but where it came from and the climate conditions that produced it nearly , years ago. The result marks the first time that scientists have been able to use groundwater to build a picture of ancient hydro-climates dating back that far.

Krypton-81 dating of old groundwater

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For years, scientists had relied on carbon 14 dating indicating the aquifer was just 40, years old. They knew that krypton 81, an isotope.

For colleagues who wish to apply radio-krypton or radio-argon dating, please see Primer on Atom Trap Trace Analysis. Radioactive isotope tracers are natural clocks in the environment. Once gas exchange ceases between a sample and the atmosphere, the abundance of the tracers contained in the sample decreases over time due to radioactive decay. As a result, the remaining abundance can be analyzed to derive the geological age of the sample, based on which the transport and evolution of the sample can be studied.

This basic technique has wide applications in the earth and environmental sciences. Long-lived noble-gas isotopes form an ideal group of tracers for the study of environmental water samples, including groundwater, ocean water, and polar ice. Consequently, the interpretation of the ages determined by these noble-gas isotopes is relatively straightforward. There are three long-lived noble-gas isotopes in the environment: 85 Kr, 39 Ar, and 81 Kr.

Krypton reveals ancient water beneath the Israeli desert

Top: satellite imagery of Taylor Glacier. Kr sampling locations are indicated as blue dots. Bottom: location of Taylor Glacier on map of Antarctica. Image credit: Christo Buizert et al. The new technique is much like the more-heralded carbon dating technique that measures the decay of a radioactive isotope and compares it to a stable isotope. Unlike carbon, however, krypton does not interact chemically and is much more stable with a half-life of around , years.

Krypton dating of old groundwater. R Purtschert, R Yokochi, C Sturchio. IAEA, 22, Method for purification of krypton from environmental samples.

Skip to search form Skip to main content You are currently offline. Some features of the site may not work correctly. Save to Library. Create Alert. Launch Research Feed. Share This Paper. Top 3 of 19 Citations View All Reconciling contradictory environmental tracer ages in multi-tracer studies to characterize the aquifer and quantify deep groundwater flow: an example from the Hutton Sandstone, Great Artesian Basin, Australia. Tracer applications of noble gas radionuclides in the geosciences.

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Isotopes of krypton

NSF-funded technique may eventually allow scientists to better understand cycles of ice ages. This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts. A team of scientists, funded by the National Science Foundation NSF , has successfully used a new technique to confirm the age of a ,year-old sample of Antarctic ice.

isotopes 85Kr (half-life of years) and 81Kr (half-life of , years) and is applied for dating groundwater and ice. While the first 39Ar.

Ventilation studies of the lung with krypton – 81 m. During a 2-year study period it was found that krypton – 81 m was useful in clinical practice. During this period technetiumm perfusion studies and krypton – 81 m ventilation studies were performed. A distinct advantage of krypton – 81 m was the ease with which multiple views could be obtained. These views could be directly compared with those of preceding perfusion studies. Report of the krypton club: availability of sup 81 m krypton in europe.

An active group of producers of krypton 81 m generators has been formed. They met in Liege 27th February to discuss the technical and logistics problems in making krypton 81 m generators more widely available in Europe. A resume of that meeting was prepared and distributed at two major medicine meetings in , Pisa and Berne, in an attempt to alert potential users to the current situation and encourage them to make contact with the production centre most favourably situated logistically.