Stable isotopes of 2H, 18O, 34S and 13C analysis in water resources

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Environmental Technologies and Sciences, Faculty of Energy and Sustainable Resources Engineering, Faculties of Interdisciplinary Technologies and Sciences, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

2 Water Research Institute, Ministry of Energy, Tehran, Iran.



Today, the importance of modern science and technology, especially the use of environmental isotopes in various studies, including hydrology and geohydrology, is obvious for anyone. Given the quantitative and qualitative crisis status of groundwater resources in Iran, having accurate isotopic data on the quantitative and qualitative status of water resources can lead to good planning and, consequently, proper management of water resources. Due to the lack of sufficient studies on the environmental isotopes in Iran, which, of course, is due to the lack of technologies, high costs of sample transfer to overseas and sanctions, while reviewing the sampling of Groundwater resources, sample preparation methods for stable isotopes of 2H, 18O, 34S and 13C, and the standards for each isotope; related devices such as Gasbench+ DeltaPlusXP, Elemental Analyzer-Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer (EA-IRMS), and Total Inorganic Carbon-Total Organic Carbon (TIC-TOC), as well as measurement methods are presented.


  1. Amiri, V., Nakhaei, M., Lak, R., & Kholghi, M. (2016). Geophysical, isotopic, and hydrogeochemical tools to identify potential impacts on coastal groundwater resources from Urmia hypersaline Lake, NW Iran. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 23(18), 16738-16760.
  2. Ayadi, R. Zouari, K., Saibi, H., Trabelsi, R., & Khanfir, H. (2016). Determination of the origins and recharge rates of the Sfax aquifer system (southeastern Tunisia) using isotope tracers. Environmental Earth Sciences, 75(636).
  3. Ayenew, T. (2003). Environmental isotope–based integrated hydrogeological study of some Ethiopian rift lakes. Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry, 257, 11-16.
  4. Bagheri, R., Naderi, A., Raeisi, E., Kazemi, G.A., Eggenkamp, H.G.M., & Montaseri, A. (2014). Origin of brine in the Kangan gasfield: isotopic and hydrogeochemical approaches. Environmental Earth Sciences, 72, 1055-1072.
  5. Bhandary, H., Al-Senafy, M., & Marzouk, F. (2015). Usage of Carbon Isotopes in Characterizing Groundwater Age, Flow Direction, Flow Velocity and Recharge Area. Procedia Environmental Sciences, 25, 28-35.
  6. Bouchaou L., Michelot, J.L., Vengosh, A., Hsissou, Y., Qurtobi, M., Gaye, C.B., Bullen, T.D., & Zuppi, G.M. (2008). Application of multiple isotopic and geochemical tracers for investigation of recharge, salinization, and residence time of water in the Souss-Massa aquifer, southwest of Morocco. Journal of Hydrology, 352(3-4) 267-287.
  7. Carreira, P.M., Marques, J.M., Espinha Marques, J. Chaminé, H. I., Fonseca, P.E., Monteiro Santos, F., Moura, R.M., & Carvalho, J.M. (2011). Defining the dynamics of groundwater in Serra da Estrela Mountain area, central Portugal: an isotopic and hydrogeochemical approach. Journal of Hydrogeology, 19, 117-131.
  8. Carreira, P.M., Marques, J.M., & Nunes, D. (2014). Source of groundwater salinity in coastline aquifers based on environmental isotopes (Portugal): Natural vs. human interference. A review and reinterpretation. Applied Geochemistry, 41, 163-175.
  9. Charideh, A., & Rahman, A. (2007). Environmental isotopic and hydrochemical study of water in the karst aquifer and submarine springs of the Syrian coast. Journal of Hydrogeology, 15, 351-364.
  10. Chitsazan, M., Karimi Vardajani, H., Karimi, H., & Mohamadi Z. (2013). Karst development evolution in Iran’s west desert regions by application of stable isotopes. In: Proceedings of the 1st National Conference on Application of Stable Isotopes, Mashhad, Iran, 132-141. (In Persian).
  11. Clark, I.D. (2015). Groundwater Geochemistry and Isotopes. Taylor & Francis Group.
  12. Clark, I.D., & Fritz, P. (1997). Environmental Isotopes in Hydrogeology. CRC Press.
  13. Edjah, A.K.M., Akiti, T. T., Osae, S., Adotey, D., & Glover, E. T. (2017). Hydrogeochemistry and isotope hydrology of surface water and groundwater systems in the Ellembelle district, Ghana, West Africa. Applied Water Science, 7(2), 609-623.
  14. Elyas, R. (2018). Quantitative and qualitative modeling of Kashan plain aquifer and calibrating the model with environmental isotopes, Master thesis, University of Tehran. (In Persian).
  15. Felisa, G., Ciriello, V., & Di Federico, V. (2013). Saltwater intrusion in coastal aquifers: A primary case study along the adriatic coast investigated within a probabilistic framework. Water, 5(4), 1830-1847.
  16. Gibson, J. (2001). Forest–tundra water balance signals traced by isotopic enrichment in lakes. Journal of Hydrology, 251, 742-752.
  17. Goni, I. (2006). Tracing stable isotope values from meteoric water to groundwater in the southwestern part of the Chad basin. Journal of Hydrogeology, 14, 742–752.
  18. Isawi, H., El-Sayed, M.H., Eissa, M., houakar-Stash, O., Shawky, H., & Abdel Mottaleb, M.S. (2016). Integrated Geochemistry, Isotopes, and Geostatistical Techniques to Investigate Groundwater Sources and Salinization Origin in the Sharm EL-Shiekh Area, South Sinia, Egypt. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 227(151).
  19. Jahanshahi, R., & Zare, M. (2017). Delineating the Origin of Groundwater in the Golgohar Mine Area of Iran Using Stable Isotopes of 2H and 18O and Hydrochemistry. Mine Water and the Environment, 36, 550-563.
  20. Jirakova, H. (2011). Isotope hydrogeology and geothermal applications to clarify the origin, the sustainability and the character of groundwater flow. Examples of the Bohemian and Aquitaine sedimentary basins. Hydrology. Université Sciences et Technologies - Bordeaux I
  21. Karimi, H., & Tavakoli, M. (2007). Examination sources of water appears at water transportation tunnel for power plant of Seymareh dam, Ilam. Iranian journal of engineering geology, 2, 301-322. (In Persian).
  22. Kubota, T., & Tsuboyama, Y. (2003). Intra and inter storm oxygen–18 and deuterium variations of rain, through fall, and stem flow, and two components hydrograph separation in a small forested catchment in Japan. Journal of Forest Research, 8, 179-190.
  23. Küttel, M., Steig, E.J., Ding, Q., Monaghan, A.J., & Battisti, D.S. (2012). Seasonal climate information preserved in West Antarctic ice core water isotopes: relationships to temperature, large-scale circulation, and sea ice. Climate Dynamics, 39, 1841-1857.
  24. Li, X., Zhou, A., Gan, Y., Yu, T., Wang, D., & Liu, Y. (2011) Controls on the δ34S and δ18O of dissolved sulfate in the Quaternary aquifers of the North China Plain. Journal of Hydrology, 400 (3-4), 312-322.
  25. Liu Y. Fan, N., An, Sh., Bai, X., Liu, F., Xu, Z., Wang, Zh., & Liu, Sh. (2008). Characteristics of water isotopes and hydrograph separation during the wet season in the Heishui River, China. Journal of Hydrology, 353 (3-4), 314-321.
  26. Massmann, G., Tichomirowa, M., Merz, C., & Pekdeger, A. (2003). Sulfide oxidation and sulfate reduction in a shallow groundwater system (Oderbruch Aquifer, Germany). Journal of Hydrology, 278 (1-4), 231-243.
  27. Mirzavand, M. (2018). Determine the origin and mechanism of groundwater salination in Kashan Plain using isotopic and hydro-geochemical methods. Doctoral dissertation, University of Kashan. (In Persian).
  28. Mirzavand, M., Ghasemieh, H., Sadatinejad, S.J., & Bagheri, R. (2020a). An overview on source, mechanism and investigation approaches in groundwater salinization studies. International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 17, 2463-2476.
  29. Mirzavand, M., Ghasemieh, H., Sadatinejad, S.J., & Bagheri, R. (2020b). Delineating the source and mechanism of groundwater salinization in crucial declining aquifer using multi-chemo-isotopes approaches. Journal of hydrology, 586.
  30. Mohammadzadeh, H., & Clark, I.D. (2008). Degradation pathways of dissolved carbon in landfill leachate traced with compound-specific 13C analysis of DOC. Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies, 44(3), 267-294.
  31. Mohammadzadeh, H., Clark, I.D., Marschner, M., & St-Jean, G. (2005). Compound Specific Isotopic Analysis (CSIA) of landfill leachate DOC components. Chemical Geology, 218(1-2 ), 3-13.
  32. Mongelli, G., Monni, S., Oggiano, G., Paternoster, M., & Sinisi, R. (2013). Tracing groundwater salinization processes in coastal aquifers: a hydrogeochemical and isotopic approach in the Na-Cl brackish waters of northwestern Sardinia, Italy. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 17(7), 2917-2928.
  33. Montalván, F.J., Heredia, J., Ruiz, J.M., Pardo-Igúzquiza, E., García de Domingo, A., & Elorza, F.J. (2017). Hydrochemical and isotopes studies in a hypersaline wetland to define the hydrogeological conceptual model: Fuente de Piedra Lake (Malaga, Spain). Science of the Total Environment, 576, 335-346.
  34. Negrel, P., Ollivier, P., Flehoc, C., & Hube, D. (2017). An innovative application of stable isotopes (δ2H and δ18O) for tracing pollutant plumes in groundwater. Science of The Total Environment, 578, 495-501.
  35. Phillips, F.M., & Castro, M.C. (2003). Groundwater Dating and Residence-Time Measurements. Treatise Geochemistry, 7, 361-400.
  36. Shamsi, A., & Kazemi, G.A. (2014). A review of research dealing with isotope hydrology in Iran and the first Iranian meteoric water line. Iranian journal of geopersia, 4(1), 73-86.
  37. Sidle, W.C., & Cvetic, V. (2010). Stable water isotope climate archives in springs from the Olympic Mountains., Washington. Environmental Earth Sciences, 62, 569-580.
  38. Sigidi, N.T., Miller, J., Watson, A., Clarke, C. E., & Butler, M. (2017). Geochemical and Isotopic Tracing of Salt Loads into the Ramsar Listed Verlorenvlei Estuarine Lake, South Africa. In: Procedia Earth Planet Sci. 15th Water-Rock Interaction International Symposium. 17(021), 909-912.
  39. Sofer, Z., & Gat, J.R. (1972). Activities and concentration of Oxygen-18 in concentrated Aqueous solutions: analytical and geophysical implications. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 15 (3), 232-238.
  40. Sofer, Z., & Gat, J.R. (1975). The isotope composition of evaporating brines: Effect of the isotopic activity ratio in saline solutions. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 26(2), 179-186.
  41. Tweed, S., Leblanc, M., Cartwright, I., Favreau, G., Leduc, C. (2011). Arid zone groundwater recharge and salinisation processes; an example from the Lake Eyre Basin, Australia. Journal of Hydrology, 408(3-4), 257-275.
  42. Utting, N., Lauriol, B., Mochnacz, N., Aeschbach-Hertig, W., & Clark, I.D. (2013). Noble gas and isotope geochemistry in western Canadian Arctic watersheds: tracing groundwater recharge in permafrost terrain. Journal of Hydrogeology, 21, 79-91.
  43. Vengosh, A., Gill, J., Davisson, M. L., & Hudson, G. B. (2002). A multi-isotope (B , Sr , O , H and C) and age dating (3 H–3 He and C) study of groundwater from Salinas Valley , California : Hydrochemistry , dynamics , and contamination processes. Water Recourses Research, 38(1), 1-17.
  44. Warner, N., Lgourna, Z., Bouchaou, L., Boutaleb, S., Tagma, T., Hsaissoune, M., & Vengosh, A. (2013). Integration of geochemical and isotopic tracers for elucidating water sources and salinization of shallow aquifers in the sub-Saharan Drâa Basin, Morocco. Applied Geochemistry, 34, 140-151
  45. Zarei, M., Raeisi, E., Merkel, B.J., & Kummer, N.A. (2013). Identifying sources of salinization using hydrochemical and isotopic techniques, Konarsiah, Iran. Environmental Earth Sciences, 70(2), 587-604.