Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Geological and Environmental Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. R. V. Krishnamurthy

Second Advisor

Dr. Eliot Atekwana

Third Advisor

Dr. David A. Barnes

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


A geochemical survey of the natural waters in Belize, Central America was carried out to compliment routine water quality analysis and to identify processes affecting water quality. The objective of this research was to provide a geochemical assessment of natural waters throughout Belize by examining select major ions (Ca2+, Mg2+ , SO42-), and stable isotopes of carbon (13C), oxygen (18O) and hydrogen (2H).

The dominant geology relevant to this investigation comprises a varied landscape of carbonates and elastic sediments in a subtropical rainforest/savannah climate. Stable oxygen and hydrogen isotope ratios shows high d-excess (10 to 40.8‰), suggesting a significant secondary continental vapor flux mixing with incoming vapor from the sea. Model calculations indicate that moisture derived from continental evaporation contributes between 9-16% during the July-August atmospheric vapor load in the region, while evaporation contributes 20-35% towards total evapotranspiration. δ13C values between -7.4 and -17.4‰ for the dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) indicates both open and closed system DIC evolution. δ13CDIC values in conjunction with concurrent magnesium and sulfate dissolution indicates dedolornitization occurring in several samples.

Included in

Geochemistry Commons