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The application of natural isotopes, stable as well as radioactive, has become a widespread tool for hydrological research, especially surface - and groundwater behaviour and exploration. By far, the most common isotopes applied are those of the elements of hydrogen, oxygen and carbon, crucial in the water cycle. The concentration ratios of the stable isotopes in water (2H/1H, 18O/16O) vary, depending on the source of the water and natural processes, such as evaporation and condensation. The radioactive isotopes 3H and 14C may provide indications - depending on natural conditions - of the source of water and the age, i.e. the time elapsed since infiltration. This is a textbook, explaining in a simple but scientifically rigorous manner the effects of natural processes on stable isotope concentrations and radioactivities. It also discusses the possible applications of these processes. It begins with a theoretical introduction, and continues by treating the elements of the water cycle successively: precipitation - globally, regionally and locally; different forms of surface water - rivers, rivulets and small streams, lakes and stagnant waters, estuaries and the sea; and, finally, groundwater - infiltration and groundwater flow. The publication also has three appendices: water sample treatment in the field and in the laboratory; measurement techniques for stable and radioactive isotopes; and the inorganic carbon chemistry of water, which explains the behaviour of carbon isotopes. The book is intended for students in the Earth Sciences, especially in Hydrology; trainees from developing countries; laboratory technicians and assistants; engineers involved in (geo) hydrological fieldwork; and anyone with an interest in natural abundances of stable or radioactive isotopes.
1 Atomic systematics and nuclear structure 2 Isotope fractionation 3 Isotope fractionation processes 4 Radioactive decay and production 5 Natural abundance of the stable isotopes of C, O and H 6 Natural abundance of the radioactive isotopes of C and H 7 Isotopes in precipitation 8 Isotopes in surface water 9 Isotopes in groundwater Appendices I Water sampling and laboratory treatment II Measuring techniques References and Selected Papers Literature IAEA Publications Symbols, Units and Constants Subject Index