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Oxygen-isotope composition of ground water and secondary minerals in Columbia Plateau basalts: implications for the paleohydrology of the Pasco Basin

January 1, 1989

Concentrations of 18O and deuterium in ground waters beneath the Hanford Reservation, Washington State, suggest that the meteoric waters recharging the basalt aquifers have been progressively depleted in these isotopes since at least Pleistocene time. This conclusion is supported by oxygen-isotope analyses of low-temperature secondary minerals filling vugs and fractures in the basalts, which are used to approximate the 18O content of ground water at the time the mineral assemblage formed. A fossil profile of ??18O values projected for ground water in a 1500 m vertical section beneath the reservation suggests that the vertical mixing of shallow and deep ground water indicated by present-day hydrochemical data was also occurring during Neogene time. These data also suggest that a unidirectional depletion of 18O and deuterium recorded in Pleistocene ground waters may have extended considerably further back in time. This shift is tentatively attributed to the orographic depletion of 18O associated with the progressive uplift of the Cascade Range since the middle Miocene. -Authors

Citation Information

Publication Year 1989
Title Oxygen-isotope composition of ground water and secondary minerals in Columbia Plateau basalts: implications for the paleohydrology of the Pasco Basin
DOI
Authors P.P. Hearn, W.C. Steinkampf, D.G. Horton, G.C. Solomon, L.D. White, J.R. Evans
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geology
Series Number
Index ID 70015770
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization