Inferring coastal processes from regional-scale mapping of 222Radon and salinity: examples from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

T Stieglitz, Peter Cook, William Burnett

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    51 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The radon isotope 222Rn and salinity in coastal surface water were mapped on regional scales, to improve the understanding of coastal processes and their spatial variability. Radon was measured with a surface-towed, continuously recording multi-detector setup on a moving vessel. Numerous processes and locations of land-ocean interaction along the Central Great Barrier Reef coastline were identified and interpreted based on the data collected. These included riverine fluxes, terrestrially-derived fresh submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) and the tidal pumping of seawater through mangrove forests. Based on variations in the relationship of the tracers radon and salinity, some aspects of regional freshwater inputs to the coastal zone and to estuaries could be assessed. Concurrent mapping of radon and salinity allowed an efficient qualitative assessment of land-ocean interaction on various spatial and temporal scales, indicating that such surveys on coastal scales can be a useful tool to obtain an overview of SGD locations and processes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)544-552
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Environmental Radioactivity
    Volume101
    Issue number7
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010

    Keywords

    • Coastal
    • Estuaries
    • Great Barrier Reef
    • Mangroves
    • Mixing
    • Radon
    • Salinity
    • Submarine groundwater discharge

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