Geochemical Fingerprinting of Natural Waters in Middle Tennessee


  • Bryant Davis


Geochemical fingerprinting is the use of chemical species to determine the source and alteration of natural waters that comprise various bodies of water. These chemical fingerprints are defined as specific patterns of chemical species unique to each body of water. This research examines the presence of which chemical species are most prevalent in lakes that are located on two distinct physiographic regions of Tennessee: the Highland Rim and the Cumberland Plateau, by analysis of samples via ICP-MS. Lakes from these regions of Tennessee were chosen due to differences in local geology and land use patterns that each respective lake have been subjected to since their inception. Grab samples were obtained from various areas of each lake in order to obtain a true identity of each respective reservoir. Different ratios of chemical species were then determined so that a comparative analysis could occur between each body of water. An analysis of the deionized water used in the dilutions, performed prior to analysis via ICP-MS, was also performed to confirm that differences in chemical species are present due to the differences in land use and geology that each lake is subjected to. These ratios of chemical species should indicate how local geology and land use patterns affect the chemical identity of natural waters within Middle Tennessee.