University of Wisconsin - Green Bay


Research Council

Research
Success

John Luczaj

John Luczaj

Spring 2015

"Using stable isotopes of water to assess aquifer vulnerability in the karst region of Northeastern Wisconsin"

Grant in Aid of Research

Final Report: "The principal goal of the research was to understand how stable isotopes could be used as tracers to determine well vulnerability in a karst aquifer. The GIAR funds were used to analyze groundwater samples from four private wells in the Silurian karst aquifer of Kewaunee County, Wisconsin. This partially supported a new project conducted by myself and graduate student Amber Konrad.  The research involved analyses the ∂18O and ∂2H isotopic composition of groundwater, which are a function of how heavy or light the atoms in H2O molecules are.  The isotopic composition varies dramatically throughout the year due to condensation temperature and other variables.
A time series sampling procedure was developed for the four wells in the study.  Homeowners self collected water samples from the wells between March and October of 2015.  Sampling occurred at least once per week, with more frequent sampling after large recharge events. Three wells had prior histories of contamination and vary in total depth from 74 to 240 feet, with depth to bedrock ranging from 5 feet to 42 feet.  A control well with no prior record of contamination had a total depth of 364 feet, with a depth to bedrock of 79 feet.  The results of our project are promising.  The shallowest well, with the shortest casing and thinnest soils showed the largest water isotope variation, suggesting the shortest travel time from surface to well.  This lends support to the utility of this technique in identifying potentially vulnerable wells in karst systems.  Ongoing work through spring 2016 will assess this technique during the most sensitive period of time, when spring snowmelt runoff occurs."

Spring 2014

"Anomalous Water Chemistry in the Deep Confined Aquifer in Northeastern Wisconsin"

Grant in Aid of Research

Final Report: "The GIAR funds were used to analyze groundwater in the deep sandstone aquifer of Brown and Outagamie counties.  This partially supported a new project conducted by myself and graduate student Amanda Hamby, which built upon an earlier project started by graduate student Joseph Baeten.  The research involved two types of analyses of groundwater: 1) the major and trace element inorganic chemistry and 2) the ∂18O and ∂2H isotopic composition of groundwater. The principal goal of the research was to understand of how fractures and faults in the region influence the water quality and flow in the deep aquifer.
The results of our project have been successful in demonstrating that a major east-west fault zone in the region does act as a hydrogeologic barrier within the aquifer, but does not act as an area of recharge throughout most of the study area.  Samples on either side of the fault exhibit distinctly different chemical and isotopic compositions, which has important implications for regional fluid flow models and for the geochemical history of an important regional aquifer.
We believe that the results of our work will be publishable. An initial poster presentation was given at a scientific conference during Spring 2015 (Hamby et al., 2015).  Data analysis is ongoing, and the project has been supplemented by additional data, including radiocarbon age dates.  Our plan is to submit a manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal during 2016."


Spring 2013

"Trace Element and Isotope Chemistry of Late-Stage Calcite Minerals"

Grant in Aid of Research

Final Report: "The GIAR funds were used to partially support a new collaborative project between UW-Green Bay (myself and student Alex Edler), Alyssa Shiel (University of Illinois), and Jared Freiburg (Illinois State Geological Survey). The purpose of the project was to determine whether or not crystals of the mineral calcite (CaCO3), found throughout parts of Wisconsin, northern Illinois, and northeastern Iowa, are related to the same ancient groundwater flow system. The research involved three major types of chemical analyses of several calcite crystals: 1) the trace element chemistry, 2) the 87Sr/86Sr isotopic composition, and 3) the ∂18O and ∂13C isotopic composition of specific growth zones in these calcite crystals. The trace element and isotopic composition of these crystals is a product of the chemistry of the fluids responsible for precipitation of the minerals. The results of our project have been successful in demonstrating that indeed some of the calcites in the region appear related to the same ancient groundwater source. Others show distinctly different chemical and isotopic compositions, suggesting the possibility of a second source of fluids. A new collaborator, Troy Rasbury (Stony Brook University), has agreed to attempt uranium-lead isotopic age dating techniques on these samples to further aid in assessing whether the crystals are of the same or different ages. Our samples are currently in the queue and we hope to receive those results during Spring 2014. We believe that the results of our work will be publishable. Data analysis is ongoing as we wait to see the results of age dating analysis. Our plan is to submit a manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal during summer 2014."


Spring 2012

"Strontium isotopes as a tracer in Brown County groundwater"

Grant in Aid of Research


Fall 2011

"Travel to the Geological Society of America Conference in Minneapolis"

Grant in Aid of Research


Fall 2010

"Heavy metals and radium analysis of Ancell Group groundwater beneath the National Railroad Museum in Ashwaubenon, WI"

Grant in Aid of Research


Fall 2008

"Costs to cover nonreimbursed fees at AAPG Eastern Section"

Grant in Aid of Research


Spring 2008

"Carbon Dating of prehistoric bones found within sediment filled caves in Cherney-Maribel Caves County Park"

Grant in Aid of Research


Spring 2007

"Radiocarbon dating animal bones that have been found in the sediment-filled caves at Cherney Maribel Caves Park"

Grant in Aid of Research


Spring 2006

"A lead and sulfer isotopic study on Galena (lead sulfide) from Northeastern Wisconsin sedimentary rocks"

Grant in Aid of Research