Uranium isotopes in the Platte River drainage basin of the North American High plains Region

Daniel D. Snow, Roy F. Spalding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

The North and South Platte Rivers contribute sigficant concentrations of dissolved uranium to the Platte River system from the weathering of uraniferous rocks at their headwaters in Colorado and Wyoming. Uranium isotopes measured in three groups of samples collected from the Platte River and its major tributaries exhibted a wide range of concentrations (0.27-31.7 μg/l) and activity ratios (1.03-1.72) reflecting variations in the contributions of different sources under differing flow conditions. Locally elevated uranium concentrations and higher activity ratios were associated with groundwater sources during low flow periods. Uranium concentrations in surface runoff were lower than in baseflow and correlated significantly with dissolved solids. Uranium activity ratios in runoff were closer to equilibrium values than those in baseflow suggesting that dissolved uranium in runoff is less affected by disequilibrium processes. Mixing calculations using uranium concentrations and activity ratios indicate considerable variations in longitudinal and transverse mixing of tributary water with Plate River water, and temporal variations of groundwater contributions (baseflow and irrigation return flow) in the Plate River system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-278
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Geochemistry
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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