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Noble-gas and fluid transport processes in lake sediments

English title Noble-gas and fluid transport processes in lake sediments
Applicant Kipfer Rolf
Number 132155
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG)
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology - EAWAG
Main discipline Hydrology, Limnology, Glaciology
Start/End 01.09.2011 - 31.08.2015
Approved amount 276'085.00
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All Disciplines (6)

Discipline
Hydrology, Limnology, Glaciology
Oceanography
Other disciplines of Physics
Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Geophysics
Geochemistry

Keywords (4)

noble gases; sediments; pore water; solute transport

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

Recently experimental techniques for the sampling and analysis of dissolved noble gases in the pore water of lake sediments were developed. First applications of these methods indicate that dissolved noble gases in sediment pore water are promising proxies for (palaeo) environmental conditions in lakes and in the ocean, and for the transport of solutes in the sediment and their release into the overlying water body and into the atmosphere.

The key conclusion of all these studies is that in some sediments the diffusivity of noble gases in the sediment pore water is similar to their molecular diffusivity in bulk water. In other sediments, however, noble gases are quantitatively trapped in the sediment and diffusion is therefore strongly suppressed. This trapping results in a stratigraphically controlled noble-gas record in the sediment, which allows a time scale to be associated with the noble gas record in the pore water. However, the mechanisms resulting in this noble-gas trapping remain to be identified. A mechanistic understanding of the diffusion suppression is required to establish the conceptual basis needed for future applications of noble gases as proxies for environmental conditions and transport of pore fluids.

The aims of the PhD research project proposed here are (i) to improve the mechanistic understanding of how and why noble gases are trapped in some sediments, but not in others (work packages A and B) and (ii) to apply the methods and concepts established in our previous projects in a study targeted at specific geological and environmental questions in a Swiss lake (work package C):

A. Study of microscopic pore-space geometry in relation to diffusion suppression: We aim to study the microscopic pore-space geometry of different sediments to identify the mechanisms that result in noble-gas trapping in the sediment.

B. Quantification of the effective diffusivities of noble-gas isotopes: We aim to measure the effective noble-gas diffusivities in different sediments to quantify the extent of the diffusion suppression.

C. Investigation of the dynamics and origin of CH4-rich fluids in the sediment of Lake Lungern (Switzerland): the sediments of Lake Lungern contain large amounts of CH4-rich fluids. We aim to use noble-gas isotopes as proxies for the transport and origin of these fluids, which may also be associated with the formation of distinct dome-like elevations (mounds) on the generally flat lake floor.

Based on these approaches, we aim to consolidate and further expand the uses of noble gas geochemistry as a widely applicable tool to study the transport of fluids and solutes in unconsolidated sediments, and to extend the area of application of noble-gas geochemistry in the environmental sciences.

Furthermore, knowledge of the transport properties of noble gases in relation to the characteristics of the sediment will allow targeted choices of the most suitable study sites for future research projects. Also, this work will be of direct benefit to other research not covered by the current project. For instance, interpretation of the noble-gas data that will be obtained from the deep-drilling sediment cores of Lake Van (Turkey) within the framework of the ICDP-PaeloVan project will benefit directly from the improved knowledge on noble-gas trans- port mechanisms in lake.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Negligible fractionation of Kr and Xe isotopes by molecular diffusion in water
Tyroller Lina, Brennwald Matthias S., Busemann Henner, Maden Colin, Baur Heinrich, Kipfer Rolf (2018), Negligible fractionation of Kr and Xe isotopes by molecular diffusion in water, in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 492, 73-78.
Diverging effects of isotopic fractionation upon molecular diffusion of noble gases in water: mechanistic insights through ab initio molecular dynamics simulations
Pinto de Magalhães Halua, Brennwald Matthias S., Kipfer Rolf (2017), Diverging effects of isotopic fractionation upon molecular diffusion of noble gases in water: mechanistic insights through ab initio molecular dynamics simulations, in Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 19(3), 405-413.
Improved Method for the Quantification of Methane Concentrations in Unconsolidated Lake Sediments
Tyroller Lina, Tomonaga Yama, Brennwald Matthias S., Ndayisaba Cyprien, Naeher Sebastian, Schubert Carsten, North Ryan P., Kipfer Rolf (2016), Improved Method for the Quantification of Methane Concentrations in Unconsolidated Lake Sediments, in Environmental Science & Technology, 50(13), 7047-7055.
Conquering the outdoors with on-site mass spectrometry
Mächler L., Brennwald M. S., Tyroller L., Livingstone D.M., Kipfer R. (2014), Conquering the outdoors with on-site mass spectrometry, in Chimia, 68, 155-159.
Fractionation of Ne and Ar isotopes by molecular diffusion in water
Tyroller L., Brennwald M. S., Mächler L., Livingstone D.M., Kipfer R. (2014), Fractionation of Ne and Ar isotopes by molecular diffusion in water, in Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 136, 60-66.
Modification and implementation of a new method for CH4 analysis in lake sediment
Ndayisaba Cyprien (2013), Modification and implementation of a new method for CH4 analysis in lake sediment.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Dr. J. Greiert, Dr. Ch. Hensen, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung (GEOMAR) Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
COST Action - ES1201 Spain (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel
Prof. Dr. D. McGinnis, Inst. Forel, University of Geneva Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Goldschmidt conference 2015 (Theme 10 'Water' organized) Talk given at a conference Noble gas isotope ratios as tracer for molecular diffusion in lake sediments 16.08.2015 Prague, Czech Republic Kipfer Rolf; Tyroller Lina;
Aquatic Sciences Meeting Talk given at a conference Tracing bubbles with noble gases dissolved in the sediment pore water of two reservoirs: Lake Boadella, Spain and Lake Lungern, Switzerland 22.02.2015 Granada, Spain Tyroller Lina;
7th IBP PhD Congress Poster Simultaneous measurement of noble gas and CH4 concentrations in the sediment porewater 01.04.2014 Zürich, Switzerland Brennwald Matthias; Kipfer Rolf; Tyroller Lina;
Ocean Sciences Meeting Poster Simultaneous measurement of noble gas and CH4 concentrations in the sediment porewater 01.02.2014 Honolulu, United States of America Tyroller Lina; Brennwald Matthias; Kipfer Rolf;
NETLAKE Meeting Talk given at a conference Application of a MIMS for high-frequency sampling of dissolved gases in aquatic systems, 01.01.2014 Girona, Spain Tyroller Lina;
PERGAMON symposium Talk given at a conference Effect of lake level variation on methane dynamics in the sediment of Lake Lungern, Switzerland 01.11.2013 Kiel, Germany Tyroller Lina; Kipfer Rolf; Brennwald Matthias;
Goldschmidt Conference 2013 Talk given at a conference Linking Noble Gas and CH4 Concentrations in the Sediment Porewater of Lake Lungern, Switzerland 25.08.2013 Florenz, Italy Kipfer Rolf; Tyroller Lina; Brennwald Matthias;
EGU General Assembly April 2013 Talk given at a conference Methane dynamics in supersaturated lake sediments 07.04.2013 Wien, Austria Brennwald Matthias; Tyroller Lina; Kipfer Rolf;
IBP Congress April 2013 Talk given at a conference Methane dynamics in supersaturated lake sediments 01.04.2013 Duebendorf, Switzerland Tyroller Lina; Kipfer Rolf; Brennwald Matthias;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
124981 The Swiss contribution to the Lake Van Drilling Project: 500000 years of environmental and climate change in Eastern Anatolia (Science Part) 01.01.2010 Project funding (Div. I-III)
105263 Edelgase in Sedimenten als Indikatoren für Umweltveränderungen in Seen 01.10.2004 Project funding (Div. I-III)
124972 The Swiss contribution to the Lake Van Drilling Project: 500000 years of environmental and climate change in Eastern Anatolia (Drilling Costs) 01.01.2010 Research Infrastructure
162447 Noble gases trapped in the pore fluids of aquatic sediments as environmental tracers 01.10.2016 Project funding (Div. I-III)
68191 Edelgase in Sedimenten als Indikation für Umweltveränderungen in Seen 01.10.2002 Project funding (Div. I-III)
121853 Towards noble gas analysis in ocean sediments to characterize active CH4 seepage 01.10.2008 Project funding (Div. I-III)
109465 Noble gases as tracers for transport of solutes and fluids in lake sediments 01.10.2005 Project funding (Div. I-III)
160018 Lake sediment methane-bubble fluxes inferred from porewater noble gas profiles: A new modeling-measurement approach to reconstruct past and present C fluxes, C budgets and eutrophication 01.09.2015 Project funding (Div. I-III)
133790 A multibeam-bathymetric device to acquire high-resolution lake floor morphologic data 01.08.2011 R'EQUIP
160114 Managing Lake Kivu: moving from a steady-state to a dynamic modelling approach 01.12.2015 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

In the previous and the ongoing SNF projects, experimental techniques for the sampling and analysis of dissolved noble gases in the pore water of lake sediments were developed. First applications of these methods indicate that dissolved noble gases in sediment pore water are promising proxies for (palaeo)environmental conditions in lakes and in the ocean, and for the transport of solutes in the sediment and their release into the overlying water body and into the atmosphere.From a conceptual point of view, the key conclusion of all these studies is that in some sediments the diffusivity of noble gases in the sediment pore water is similar to their molecular diffusivity in bulk water. In other sediments, however, noble gases are quantitatively trapped in the sediment and diffusion is therefore strongly suppressed. This trapping results in a stratigraphically controlled noble-gas record in the sediment, which allows a time scale to be associated with the noble gas record in the pore water. However, the mechanisms resulting in this noble-gas trapping remain to be identified. A mechanistic understanding of the diffusion suppression is required to establish the conceptual basis needed for future applications of noble gases as proxies for environmental conditions and transport of pore fluids.The aims of the PhD research project proposed here are (i) to improve the mechanistic understanding of how and why noble gases are trapped in some sediments, but not in others (work packages A and B) and (ii) to apply the methods and concepts established in our previous projects in a study targeted at specific geological and environmental questions in a Swiss lake (work package C):A. Study of microscopic pore-space geometry in relation to diffusion suppression: We aim to study the microscopic pore-space geometry of different sediments to identify the mechanisms that result in noble-gas trapping in the sediment.B. Quantification of the effective diffusivities of noble-gas isotopes: We aim to measure the effective noble-gas diffusivities in different sediments to quantify the extent of the diffusion suppression.C. Investigation of the dynamics and origin of -rich fluids in the sediment of Lake Lungern (Switzerland): the sediments of Lake Lungern contain large amounts of -rich fluids. We aim to use noble-gas isotopes as proxies for the transport and origin of these fluids, which may also be associated with the formation of distinct dome-like elevations (mounds) on the generally flat lake floor.Based on these approaches, we aim to consolidate and further expand the uses of noble gas geochemistry as a widely applicable tool to study the transport of fluids and solutes in unconsolidated sediments, and to extend the area of application of noble-gas geochemistry in the environmental sciences.Furthermore, knowledge of the transport properties of noble gases in relation to the characteristics of the sediment will allow targeted choices of the most suitable study sites for future research projects. Also, this work will be of direct benefit to other research not covered by the current project. For instance, interpretation of the noble-gas data that will be obtained from the deep-drilling sediment cores of Lake Van (Turkey) within the framework of the ICDP-PaeloVan project will benefit directly from the improved knowledge on noble-gas transport mechanisms in lake sediments.
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