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Introduction to Water Dating and Tracer Analysis

GNS provides a number of complementary age tracer methods to date water samples. These include tritium, CFCs, SF6, silicon-32, carbon-14, and stable isotopes, covering a range of ages from less than six months to tens of thousands of years. 

Age ranges for tracer methods

Water in rain, oceans, lakes, streams and glacial ice pick up these tracers through contact with the atmosphere. The concentration of the tracers in the groundwater depends on the atmospheric concentration at the time of contact when the water fell as rain or snow, and the time since the last contact of the water with the atmosphere. Because these concentrations are dependent on their age, the measured concentration in groundwater can indicate the time since the water fell as rain.