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Uranium isotopes as a possible tracer of terrestrial authigenic carbonate

Rovan, Leja; Zuliani, Tea; Horvat, Barbara; Kanduč, Tajša; Vreča, Polona; Jamil, Qasim; Čermelj, Branko; Bura-Nakić, Elvira; Cukrov, Neven; Štrok, Marko; Lojen, Sonja (2021) Uranium isotopes as a possible tracer of terrestrial authigenic carbonate. Science of the total environment, 797 . ISSN 0048-9697

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The concentration and isotopic composition of uranium (δ238U, 234U/238U activity ratio) in combination with traditional isotopes (δ18O, δ13C) were examined as potential tracers of authigenic carbonate formation in a karst aquifer. The U concentration and 234U/238U activity ratios in the tufa-precipitating sections of two connected karst rivers (Krka and Zrmanja, Croatia) decreased downstream in water and in precipitated carbonate due to active self-purification processes, i.e. adsorption of isotopically lighter U(VI) on mineral particles, sedimentation and co- precipitation with carbonate. The isotopic composition of carbonate in tufa mostly resembled the 234U/238U activity ratio and the δ238U values of dissolved U in water but was also affected by the presence of detrital carbonate flushed into the river from soil and weathered bedrock. This interpretation was supported by the δ18O and δ13C values of tufa, which were shifted out of equilibrium with river water and dissolved in organic carbon and in their isotopic signature, which showed the presence of lithic carbonate. Large fluctuations of the δ238U values of water, leachable U (eluted in acetic acid buffered with Na-acetate) and residual U fraction could not be fully explained by available data due to the overlapping U isotopic signatures of leachable (mainly carbonate) and residual fractions of soil, bedrock and tufa. Therefore, a long-term, systematic, seasonal and event-based observation of the isotopic composition of dissolved and suspended particulate U in water is necessary. Nevertheless, the U isotopes were found to have the potential to be used as identifiers of authigenic carbonate and the storage of CO2 in terrestrial river sediments, to improve knowledge on fluxes within local and global biogeochemical carbon cycle.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: uranium isotopes ; karst aquifer ; authigenic carbonate ; tufa ; Krka river
Subjects: NATURAL SCIENCES > Geology
NATURAL SCIENCES > Interdisciplinary Natural Sciences
Divisions: Division for Marine and Enviromental Research
Project titleProject leaderProject codeProject type
Geokemija i zapis redoks indikatora u različitim uvjetima okoliša: prema boljem razumijevanju redoks uvjeta u prošlostiBura-Nakić, ElviraIP-2018-01-7813HRZZ
Depositing User: Elvira Bura Nakić
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2022 11:56
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.149103

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