Empirical Determination of Tracer Mass for Sink to Spring Tests in Karst


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Sinkholes and the Engineering and Environmental Impacts of Karst (2003)


A large number of equations have been proposed for determining the quantity of tracer needed for a successful groundwater trace in carbonate rocks. Surprisingly, there is a lack of empirical evaluation of these equations in the literature. Data from 203 quantitative tracer tests were used to statistically evaluate the equations. The pertinent variables in these equations include input discharge, spring discharge, distance, velocity, mass of tracer injected, peak tracer concentration recovered, and time from injection to peak recovery. The tests included a wide range of spring discharges (0.002–47 m3/s), distances (30 m – 30 km) and mass of dye used (2 mg – 50 tonnes). Two regression equations gave excellent fits to the tracer test data set. Peak tracer concentration is usually chosen to be in the sub-visual range, but depends upon methods of sampling and of analysis. Use of these equations gives a high probability of successful sub-visual detection of dye in water or charcoal samples, and thus addresses one of the major problems of tracer testing.

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