Conceptual model of recharge to southeastern Badain Jaran Desert groundwater and lakes from environmental tracers

Gates, John B.; Edmunds, W. Michael; Darling, George; Ma, Jinzhu; Pang, Zhonghe; Young, A.. 2008 Conceptual model of recharge to southeastern Badain Jaran Desert groundwater and lakes from environmental tracers. Applied Geochemistry, 23 (12). 3519-3534.

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Sources of groundwater recharge to the Badain Jaran Desert in China have been investigated using geochemical and isotopic techniques. Stable isotope compositions (δ18O and δ2H) of shallow groundwater and surface water from oasis lakes evolve from a starting composition considerably depleted compared to local unsaturated zone moisture, confirming inferences from chloride mass balance that direct infiltration of precipitation is not a volumetrically important source of recharge to the shallow aquifer in the study area. Shallow phreatic and deeper confined groundwater bodies appear unconnected based on chemical composition and radiocarbon activities. Hydrogeologic evidence points toward a bordering mountain range (Yabulai) as a likely recharge zone, which is consistent with tracer results. A mean residence time in the range of 1–2 ka for the desert’s southeastern margin is inferred from radiocarbon. These results reveal that some replenishment to the desert aquifer is occurring but at a rate much lower than previously suggested, which is relevant for water resources planning in this ecologically sensitive area.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2008 > Groundwater resources
ISSN: 0883-2927
Additional Keywords: GroundwaterBGS, Groundwater, Groundwater resources, Environmental tracers, International development, Groundwater modelling, China, Desert environments
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Related URLs:
Date made live: 07 Jan 2009 10:28 +0 (UTC)

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