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Organic characterisation of cave drip water by LC-OCD and fluorescence analysis

Rutlidge, Helen, Andersen, Martin S., Baker, Andy, Chinu, Khorshed J., Cuthbert, Mark, Jex, Catherine N., Marjo, Christopher E., Markowska, Monika and Rau, Gabriel C. 2015. Organic characterisation of cave drip water by LC-OCD and fluorescence analysis. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 166 , pp. 15-28. 10.1016/j.gca.2015.05.042

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Cathedral Cave, Wellington, Australia, is a natural laboratory for studying water movement and geochemical processes in the unsaturated zone by using artificial irrigation to activate drip sites within the cave. Water sampled from two drip sites activated by irrigations carried out in summer 2014 was analysed for dissolved inorganic ions and fluorescent organic matter. The analysis allowed the development of a conceptual flow path model for each drip site. DOM analysis was further complemented by liquid chromatography with organic carbon detection (LC-OCD), applied for the first time to karst drip waters, allowing the characterisation of six organic matter fractions. The differences in organic matter fractions at each drip site are interpreted as a signature of the proposed flow paths. LC-OCD was also compared with parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC) of the fluorescence and good correlations were observed for high molecular weight organic matter. Strong positive correlations were also observed for high molecular weight matter and Cu and Ni. This is suggestive of colloidal transport of Cu and Ni by organic matter with high molecular weight, while small molecular weight colloids were not efficient transporters. LC-OCD uniquely provides information on non-fluorescent organic matter and can be used to further quantify drip water organic matter composition.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Publisher: Meteoritical Society
ISSN: 0016-7037
Date of Acceptance: 26 May 2015
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2018 09:40

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