Boron and Lithium Isotopes as Hydrologic Tracers

EPA Grant Number: U914956
Title: Boron and Lithium Isotopes as Hydrologic Tracers
Investigators: Hogan, James F.
Institution: Dartmouth College
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: January 1, 1996 through January 1, 1999
Project Amount: $102,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1996) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Geology , Academic Fellowships , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration


The objective of this research project is to assess the utility of boron and lithium isotopes as conservative isotope tracers, providing a powerful new tool for tracing groundwater flow, identifying solute sources, and quantifying mixing of sources.


I will test the use of boron and lithium isotopic variation as hydrologic tracers at the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island, NY. Fresh Kills provides a complex hydrologic environment because of the mixing of three distinct end-member waters—landfill leachate, sea water, and fresh water. The chemical composition and mixing of these waters is already well understood, providing an opportunity to test the conservative nature of the isotopes and their ability to trace the movement and mixing of groundwaters. We have collected a preliminary set of samples comprising the different end-member waters and mixing between them. The use of base-cation concentrations and ratios of base cations allows an independent conformation on the boron and lithium isotope data. Analysis of boron and lithium isotopic composition is performed using thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS) after concentration and chemical separation.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, boron, lithium, isotopes, hydrologic tracers, groundwater, thermal ionization mass spectrometry, TIMS, isotopic tracers, groundwater flow., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Environmental Chemistry, Monitoring/Modeling, Environmental Monitoring, Ecology and Ecosystems, Environmental Engineering, landfill leachate, groundwater monitoring, hydrologic tracers, Boron, aqueous waste streams

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1996
  • 1997
  • Final