Feasibility study for the use of radon-222 to quantify groundwater discharge to rivers in New Zealand

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Martindale, H.; van der Raaij, R.W.; Morgenstern, U. 2016 Feasibility study for the use of radon-222 to quantify groundwater discharge to rivers in New Zealand. Lower Hutt, N.Z.: GNS Science. GNS Science report 2016/53 ii, 13 p.; doi: 10.21420/G2BC7N

Abstract: Radon-222 is a decay isotope of uranium now known to be a useful tracer for identifying locations of groundwater discharge within New Zealand rivers and streams. It is prevalent in many groundwater systems. Internationally, radon has been used to not only qualitatively assess where groundwater is being discharged into rivers, but also to quantify the groundwater discharge. However, GNS Science does not yet have the capability to quantify the volume of groundwater discharge using radon, once the locations of groundwater-surface water interaction have been identified. This report outlines proposed research in which a radon mass balance approach is used to quantify groundwater discharge to gravel-bed rivers. This proposed research follows the methodology and theory of previous international studies, with a particular focus on constraining the gas transfer coefficient of radon, the rate at which radon diffuses from the river water into the air. (auth)