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Accueil du site → Doctorat → Allemagne → 2020 → Tracing the water cycle in the Atacama Desert using water isotopes (δ2H, δ17O, δ18O) and pedogenic salt distributions.

Universität zu Köln. (2020)

Tracing the water cycle in the Atacama Desert using water isotopes (δ2H, δ17O, δ18O) and pedogenic salt distributions.

Voigt, Claudia

Titre : Tracing the water cycle in the Atacama Desert using water isotopes (δ2H, δ17O, δ18O) and pedogenic salt distributions.

Auteur : Voigt, Claudia

Université de soutenance : Universität zu Köln.

Grade : Doktorgrade 2020

Résumé partiel
Stable isotope ratios of water (18O/16O and 2H/1H) are widely used in hydrological studies. In contrast to classic tracers (δ2H–δ18O, d-excess), the triple oxygen isotope system (δ17O–δ18O, 17O excess) is virtually insensitive to changes in temperature and salinity, providing additional information on processes in the hydrological cycle. Large isotope effects associated with evaporation occur mainly in response to humidity. These isotope effects can be quantified by the classic Craig-Gordon evaporation model. The main objective of this thesis is to investigate the potential of combined analysis of hydrogen (2H/1H) and triple oxygen (18O/17O/16O) isotopes of structurally bonded water of gypsum (CaSO4 · 2H2O) to quantitatively estimate paleo-humidity and reconstruct past changes in the climatic conditions of the presently hyperarid Atacama Desert. The first study serves to investigate recent dynamics in the isotopic composition of lake water in the complex hydrological system of the Salar del Huasco, Altiplano, Chile, that receives inflow from multiple sources and is affected by seasonal variability in precipitation, temperature and relative humidity. Isotope analyses of lakes and ponds from the Salar del Huasco revealed that their hydrological balance is mainly controlled by evaporation and recharge. Inflow from multiple sources and temporal variability in their isotopic composition lead to scattering of pond data along the evaporation trendline predicted by the Craig-Gordon model. Sporadic flooding events after heavy rainfalls can provoke significant mixing and lead to the emergence of non-recharged lakes. Evaporation without recharge as well as mixing processes can be identified by triple oxygen isotope analysis. The potential occurrence of episodic mixing processes, e.g. due to frequent flooding, should be taken into account in paleo-applications. The second study presents first results of isotope analyses of structurally bonded water of gypsum from paleo-lake deposits in the Atacama Desert. The isotopic compositions of analyzed samples fall on distinct evaporation trends indicating the preservation of the primary isotope signal of paleo-lake water. A Craig-Gordon model together with a Monte Carlo simulation was used to determine the relative humidity that best fit the isotope data in both d-excess vs δ18O space and 17O-excess vs δ18O space.

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