Stable isotopic fingerprint of a hyporheic-hypolentic boundary in a reservoir

Todd A. Aseltyne, Harold D. Rowe, Alan E. Fryar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Stable isotopes of H2O are used to define the hyporheic-hypolentic boundary in Ledbetter Creek as it discharges to Kentucky Lake, a constructed reservoir in western Kentucky, USA. High-resolution (centimeter-scale) sample collection and analysis were utilized to determine one-dimensional variations in δ2H and δ18O of H2O and chloride (Cl-) across the boundary. During reservoir low stand in winter, the hyporheic-hypolentic zone contains water from Ledbetter Creek and groundwater separated by an interface at ∼10 cm below the channel bottom. Following reservoir-stage increase in spring and summer, water from Kentucky Lake infiltrates into the hyporheic-hypolentic zone to a depth of at least 18 cm below the channel bottom. Reservoir-stage decline in autumn causes source-water mixing, largely obscuring the hyporheic-hypolentic boundary. Stable isotopes provide an effective complement to conventional tracers for delineation of water masses within the hyporheic-hypolentic zone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1688-1695
Number of pages8
JournalHydrogeology Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Groundwater/surface-water relations
  • Hypolentic
  • Hyporheic
  • Reservoir
  • Stable isotopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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