The University of Arizona

Dating of Groundwater Recharge in Two Small Adjacent Aquifers in Israel and Their Initial 14C Activities

J Guttman, J Kronfeld, I Carmi


Radiocarbon and tritium determinations were carried out in 2 adjacent small aquifers in Israel. These aquifers have small storage capacities and good hydraulic properties. Darcy calculations suggest that the aquifers contain young waters, ~50 yr in age. 14C concentrations in the Pleistocene aquifer are between 23-60 pMC, with the lowest activity related to contamination by petroleum-based fertilizers with no 14C. 14C concentrations in the Judea Group aquifer range from 62 to 95 pMC. An apparent difference of ~1000 yr is indicated for the average recharge age between the 2 aquifers. The tritium data suggests that the water in both aquifers is quite young. The 1000-yr difference is an artifact of initial isotopic fractionation differences through the unsaturated zone as established elsewhere for these 2 aquifers. When these individual fractionation factors (0.54 for the Pleistocene and 0.62 for the Judea Group) are used, it is revealed that both aquifers contain young water, in agreement with the Darcy calculation, which was recharged at the beginning of the period of thermonuclear atmospheric testing in the early 1960s.

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