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Volume 2018, Article ID 9475741, 20 pages
Research Article

Evaluation of the Potential for Dissolved Oxygen Ingress into Deep Sedimentary Basins during a Glaciation Event

1CONICET-IHLLA, República de Italia 780, C.C. 47, Azul, Buenos Aires B7300, Argentina
2Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, University of British Columbia, 2207 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada V5T 1Z4
3Department of Civil Engineering, University of New Brunswick, P.O. Box 4400, Fredericton, NB, Canada E3B 5A3

Correspondence should be addressed to Sergio A. Bea; ra.ude.necinu.aaf@aebas

Received 24 August 2017; Revised 9 February 2018; Accepted 18 February 2018; Published 24 April 2018

Academic Editor: Tianchyi Yeh

Copyright © 2018 Sergio A. Bea et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Geochemical conditions in intracratonic sedimentary basins are currently reducing, even at relatively shallow depths. However, during glaciation-deglaciation events, glacial meltwater production may result in enhanced recharge (Bea et al., 2011; and Bea et al., 2016) potentially having high concentrations of dissolved oxygen (O2). In this study, the reactive transport code Par-MIN3P-THCm was used to perform an informed, illustrative set of simulations assessing the depth of penetration of low salinity, O2-rich, subglacial recharge. Simulation results indicate that the large-scale basin hydrostratigraphy, in combination with the presence of dense brines at depth, results in low groundwater velocities during glacial meltwater infiltration, restricting the vertical ingress of dilute recharge waters. Furthermore, several geochemical attenuation mechanisms exist for O2, which is consumed by reactions with reduced mineral phases and solid organic matter (SOM). The modeling showed that effective oxidative mineral dissolution rates and SOM oxidation rates between 5 × 10−15 and 6 × 10−13 mol dm−3 bulk s−1 were sufficient to restrict the depth of O2 ingress to less than 200 m. These effective rates are low and thus conservative, in comparison to rates reported in the literature. Additional simulations with more realistic, yet still conservative, parameters reaffirm the limited ability for O2 to penetrate into sedimentary basin rocks during a glaciation-deglaciation event.