Salinity increases in water from the freshwater Navajo aquifer in the Aneth area have been documented in recent years. Previous studies during the 1980s in the Aneth area suggested that brines associated with oil production and their subsequent re-injection were the probable source of salinity in the Navajo aquifer. Differences in the delta strontium-87 (δ87Sr) composition of ground-water samples from southeastern Utah were used to determine if oil-field brine or water from the upper Paleozoic aquifer is a plausible source of salinity to the Navajo aquifer. The δ87Sr values of the oil-field brine samples (mean = −0.95%, range = −1.06 to −0.79%, n = 5) are substantially more negative than the values in water samples from wells completed in the Navajo aquifer (mean = 0.73, range = −0.85 to 2.02%, n = 48), indicating that oil-field brine is not a source of salinity. The δ87Sr values in water samples from wells completed in the upper Paleozoic aquifer (mean = 0.801% range = 0.34 to 1.10%, n = 4) are similar to the mean isotopic composition of the more saline water from the Navajo aquifer. The δ87Sr values in water from the Navajo aquifer confirm that two distinct flow areas are present. Mixing models using the δ87Sr values and Sr concentrations of non-saline water from the Navajo aquifer and saline water from the upper Paleozoic aquifer indicate that water from the upper Paleozoic aquifer is a plausible source of saline water to the Navajo aquifer. Most Navajo aquifer wells that contain water with a δ87Sr signature similar to water from the upper Paleozoic aquifer are located within or adjacent to an area where the hydraulic gradient is favorable for upward movement of water from the upper Paleozoic aquifer into the Navajo aquifer.
|Title||Using δ87Sr values to identify sources of salinity to a freshwater aquifer, Greater Aneth Oil Field, Utah, USA|
|Authors||D. L. Naftz, Z. E. Peterman, L.E. Spangler|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Chemical Geology|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|