Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Geology and Geography

Committee Chair

Shikha Sharma

Committee Co-Chair

Hank Edenborn

Committee Member

Dorothy Vesper


Understanding sources of water and carbon are important for tracking recharge sources as well as assessing any changes in water quality associated with shale gas drilling and/or coal mining in the Appalachians. Natural stable isotopes have become an increasingly important tool for determining sources and cycling of water, carbon, nutrients and other trace elements. This is plausible because variations in water-rock interactions, recharge sources, recharge pathways, and residence time can impart unique isotopic fingerprints to different water sources.;The main objective of this study was to use stable isotopes of water (delta18OH2O and delta2H H2O), DIC (delta13CDIC) and SO4 (delta34SSO4 and delta18O SO4) to delineate sources of water and carbon in three different geochemical settings in Appalachians: natural springs, coal mine discharges and co-produced waters produced during Marcellus shale gas drilling in the Appalachian region. At some study sites other geochemical proxies such as major cations, anions (i.e. Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+, HCO 3-, SO42-) as well as field parameters (temperature and pH) were used in conjunction with stable isotope data to better understand the underlying physical, geochemical and biological processes. Our data shows that stable isotopic signatures in natural springs, coal mine discharge and co-produced waters can be used understand sources of carbon and water at each site as well as understanding biogeochemical transformations that lead to isotopic fractionation.