Bureau of Economic Geology

"Water Isotope Forensics: Data and Tools for Hydrological Tracing"

April 12, 2019 9:00 AM
Gabriel Bowen

Gabriel Bowen
Professor of Geology and Geophysics,  University of Utah

Isotope-discriminating processes give rise to natural variation in the stable isotope ratios of waters within the hydrological cycle. This creates potential to leverage such variation to identify and partition water sources in natural, modified, and human-managed water systems. Capitalizing on this potential requires data resources and quantitative models that describe the water isotope ‘fingerprint’, as well as statistical tools that support robust interpretation of this signature. I will introduce a suite of projects underway now to build infrastructure for water isotope forensics, and discuss applications in which our research team and colleagues have used this approach to gain new information on connectivity within diverse water systems and at a range of scales.