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  1. Ubiquitous fractionation processes in the subsurface obscure mantle-derived volatile signals in hydrothermal systems. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 14, 2024
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    Groundwater is an important source of drinking and irrigation water. Dating groundwater informs its vulnerability to contamination and aids in calibrating flow models. Here, we report measurements of multiple age tracers ( 14 C, 3 H, 39 Ar, and 85 Kr) and parameters relevant to dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) from 17 wells in California’s San Joaquin Valley (SJV), an agricultural region that is heavily reliant on groundwater. We find evidence for a major mid-20th century shift in groundwater DIC input from mostly closed- to mostly open-system carbonate dissolution, which we suggest is driven by input of anthropogenic carbonate soil amendments. Crucially, enhanced open-system dissolution, in which DIC equilibrates with soil CO 2 , fundamentally affects the initial 14 C activity of recently recharged groundwater. Conventional 14 C dating of deeper SJV groundwater, assuming an open system, substantially overestimates residence time and thereby underestimates susceptibility to modern contamination. Because carbonate soil amendments are ubiquitous, other groundwater-reliant agricultural regions may be similarly affected. 
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  4. It is well established that mantle plumes are the main conduits for upwelling geochemically enriched material from Earth's deep interior. The fashion and extent to which lateral flow processes at shallow depths may disperse enriched mantle material far (>1,000 km) from vertical plume conduits, however, remain poorly constrained. Here, we report He and C isotope data from 65 hydrothermal fluids from the southern Central America Margin (CAM) which reveal strikingly high 3 He/ 4 He (up to 8.9R A ) in low-temperature (≤50 °C) geothermal springs of central Panama that are not associated with active volcanism. Following radiogenic correction, these data imply a mantle source 3 He/ 4 He >10.3R A (and potentially up to 26R A , similar to Galápagos hotspot lavas) markedly greater than the upper mantle range (8 ± 1R A ). Lava geochemistry (Pb isotopes, Nb/U, and Ce/Pb) and geophysical constraints show that high 3 He/ 4 He values in central Panama are likely derived from the infiltration of a Galápagos plume–like mantle through a slab window that opened ∼8 Mya. Two potential transport mechanisms can explain the connection between the Galápagos plume and the slab window: 1) sublithospheric transport of Galápagos plume material channeled by lithosphere thinning along the Panama Fracture Zone or 2) active upwelling of Galápagos plume material blown by a “mantle wind” toward the CAM. We present a model of global mantle flow that supports the second mechanism, whereby most of the eastward transport of Galápagos plume material occurs in the shallow asthenosphere. These findings underscore the potential for lateral mantle flow to transport mantle geochemical heterogeneities thousands of kilometers away from plume conduits. 
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