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Tracing nitrogen sources and cycling in catchments

July 16, 1998

This chapter focuses on the uses of isotopes to understand water chemistry.I Isotopic compositions generally cannot be interpreted successfully in the absence of other chemical and hydrologic data. The chapter focusses on uses of isotopes in tracing sources and cycling of nitrogen in the water-component of forested catchment, and on dissolved nitrate in shallow waters, nutrient uptake studies in agricultural areas, large-scale tracer experiments, groundwater contamination studies, food-web investigations, and uses of compound-specific stable isotope techniques. Shallow waters moving along a flowpath through a relatively uniform material and reacting with minerals probably do not achieve equilibrium but gradually approach some steady-state composition. The chapter also discusses the use of isotopic techniques to assess impacts of changes in land-management practices and land use on water quality. The analysis of individual molecular components for isotopic composition has much potential as a method for tracing the source, biogeochemistry, and degradation of organic liquids and gases because different materials have characteristic isotope spectrums or biomarkers.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1998
Title Tracing nitrogen sources and cycling in catchments
DOI 10.1016/B978-0-444-81546-0.50023-9
Authors Carol Kendall
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70186178
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Research Program - Western Branch

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