J. J. Gibson


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Using stable isotopes to track hydrological processes at an oil sands mine, Alberta, Canada
Spencer Joseph Chad, S. Lee Barbour, Jeffrey J. McDonnell, J. J. Gibson
Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, Volume 40

This study was conducted at an oil sands operation in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR), northeastern Alberta, Canada. The mine comprises open pit excavation of bituminous sands at two sites (Mildred Lake, ML, and Aurora North, AN), with a single hot-water extraction circuit connecting extraction plants at each mine. Water samples were collected and analyzed regularly over an eight-year period to establish inventories of site-wide water isotope signatures including seasonal and interannual changes in the recycle water circuit, and to permit future application of an isotope balance model to constrain poorly quantified processes such as evaporation losses, dewatering of tailings, and tailings pond connectivity of the recycle water circuit. Sampling of precipitation inputs over an 8-year period was used to constrain a local meteoric water line for the area. Differences in evaporative isotopic enrichment of tailings ponds at ML and AN are attributed to use of Athabasca River makeup water at the former site versus basal dewatering sources at the latter, with similar atmospheric controls at both. A conceptual model is developed summarizing temporal variations in water balance and isotopic signatures within the recycle water circuit, including accurate simulation of the unique isotopic enrichment of cooling tower blowdown. This study provides foundational evidence for application of stable isotope mass balance to monitor and improve industrial water use efficiency and management. • Detailed summary of stable isotope variations at oil sands mine sites. • New dataset for precipitation, makeup water, and mine circuits. • Updated regressions defining local meteoric water line for district. • Contrasts isotopic variations for nearby mine sites with distinct sources. • Previously unpublished effects of cooling tower blowdown.


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Dataset of 18O and 2H in streamflow across Canada: A national resource for tracing water sources, water balance and predictive modelling
J. J. Gibson, P. Eby, Tricia A. Stadnyk, T. Holmes, S. J. Birks, Alain Pietroniro
Data in Brief, Volume 34

Oxygen-18 and deuterium were measured in streamflow samples collected from 331 gauging stations across Canada during 2013 to 2019. This dataset includes 9206 isotopic analyses made on 4603 individual water samples, and an additional 1259 analysis repeats for quality assurance/quality control. We also include arithmetic and flow-weighted averages, and other basic statistics for stations where adequate data were available. Station data are provided including station code, name, province, latitude, longitude and drainage area. Flow data were extracted from the historical database of the Water Survey of Canada. Details on the preliminary application of these data are provided in “ 18 O and 2 H in streamflow across Canada” [1] . Overall, these data are expected to be useful when combined with precipitation datasets and analytical or numerical models for water resource management and planning, including tracing streamflow source, water balance, evapotranspiration partitioning, residence time analysis, and early detection of climate and land use changes in Canada.


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18O and 2H in streamflow across Canada
J. J. Gibson, T. Holmes, Tricia A. Stadnyk, S. J. Birks, P. Eby, Alain Pietroniro
Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, Volume 32

Funding and in-kind support for analytical costs and logistics was provided by Environment and Climate Change Canada via a Grants and Contributions Agreement and by InnoTech Alberta via an Internal Investment Grant.