Tritium/3He dating of shallow groundwater

Peter Schlosser, Martin Stute, Helmut Dörr, Christian Sonntag, Karl Otto Münnich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

253 Scopus citations


Combined tritium/3He data from three multi-level sampling wells (DFG 1, DFG 4, DFG 7) located at Liedern/ Bocholt, West Germany, are presented and principles of the tritium/3He method in shallow groundwater studies are discussed. The 3He excess produced by radioactive decay of bomb tritium (released mainly between 1952 and 1963) is clearly reflected in the data. The tritiogenic 3He signal can be detected with a good resolution (signal/1σ error: ≈ 350). The confinement of the tritiogenic 3He is estimated to approximately 77-85% at site DFG 4. For the bomb tritium peak the deviation of the tritium/3He age from the age determined by identifying the groundwater layer recharged between 1962 and 1965 is about 3 years (15%). The deviation can be explained by diffusive 3He loss across the groundwater table and by flow dispersion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-362
Number of pages10
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Aug 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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