The University of Arizona

Radiocarbon and Stable Isotopes as Groundwater Tracers in the Danube River Basin of SW Slovakia

Pavel P Povinec, Z Ženišová, A Šivo, N Ogrinc, M Richtáriková, R Breier


Horizontal and vertical variations in the distribution of 14C, δ13C, δ18O, and δ2H in groundwater of Žitný Island (Rye Island) have been studied. Žitný Island, situated in the Danube River Basin, is the largest island in Europe that is formed by interconnected rivers. It is also the largest groundwater reservoir in central Europe (~10^10 m3 of drinking water). The δ2H vs. δ18O plot made from collected groundwater samples showed an agreement with the Global Meteoric Water Line. In the eastern part of the island, it was found that subsurface water profiles (below 10 m water depth) showed enriched δ18O levels, which were probably caused by large evaporation losses and the practice of irrigating the land for agriculture. The core of the subsurface 14C profile represents contemporary groundwater with 14C values >80 pMC, indicating that the Danube River during all its water levels feeds most of the groundwater of Žitný Island. However, on the eastern part of the island a small area was found where the δ13C and 14C data (down to ~30 pMC) helped to identify a groundwater aquifer formed below the Neogene clay sediments. This is the first time that vertical distributions of isotopes in different groundwater horizons have been studied.

DOI: 10.2458/azu_js_rc.55.16261


Radiocarbon; 13C; 18O; groundwater; vertical profiles; Danube River Basin; Žitný island; Slovakia

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