Using noble gases measured in spring discharge to trace hydrothermal processes in the Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, U.S.A.

W. Payton Gardner, David D. Susong, D. Kip Solomon, Henry P. Heasler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Dissolved noble gas concentrations in springs are used to investigate boiling of hydrothermal water and mixing of hydrothermal and shallow cool water in the Norris Geyser Basin area. Noble gas concentrations in water are modeled for single stage and continuous steam removal. Limitations on boiling using noble gas concentrations are then used to estimate the isotopic effect of boiling on hydrothermal water, allowing the isotopic composition of the parent hydrothermal water to be determined from that measured in spring. In neutral chloride springs of the Norris Geyser Basin, steam loss since the last addition of noble gas charged water is less than 30% of the total hydrothermal discharge, which results in an isotopic shift due to boiling of « 2.5% δD. Noble gas concentrations in water rapidly and predictably change in dual phase systems, making them invaluable tracers of gas-liquid interaction in hydrothermal systems. By combining traditional tracers of hydrothermal flow such as deuterium with dissolved noble gas measurements, more complex hydrothermal processes can be interpreted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)394-404
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Volume198
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 2010

Keywords

  • Environmental tracers
  • Hydrothermal systems
  • Noble gas geochemistry

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