Characterization and Origin of Dissolved Organic Carbon in Yegua Ground Water in Brazos County, Texas Academic Article uri icon


  • Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations in five shallow (< 20 m) and three deeper wells (27 to 30 m) in the Eocene Yegua Formation (Brazos County in east-central Texas) ranged from 92 to 500 microns. Characterization of high, intermediate, and low molecular weight DOC fractions (HMW > 3000 amu, IMW 1000 to 3000 amu, and LMW 500 to 1000 amu) and combined neutral sugar analyses provide information on organic matter sources in the Yegua aquifers. Combined neutral sugars ranged in concentration from 0.6 to 2.7 mumol/L and comprised 0.8% to 6.7% of DOC in ground water. Glucose was the most abundant neutral sugar, followed by xylose and galactose, arabinose, mannose, rhamnose, and fucose. These combined neutral sugars were more diagenetically altered in shallow, oxic ground water as indicated by high mole % fucose + rhamnose and low neutral sugar yield. The precursors for neutral sugars are most probably angiosperm leaves, which show a similar distribution pattern of neutral sugars. Ground water DOC was depleted in 13C relative to soil-zone organic matter (OM) (-16@1000 to -19@1000). The delta 13C values of bulk DOC and HMW DOC ranged from -24@1000 to -32@1000, whereas LMW and IMW DOC ranged from -32@1000 to -34@1000 and -16@1000 to -28@1000, respectively. This variability in delta 13C values is probably related to microbial processes and selective preservation of OM. Carbon isotope analyses in bulk and different molecular weight DOC fractions imply a predominantly C3 OM source and a low contribution of soil-zone OM to DOC.

author list (cited authors)

  • Routh, J., Grossman, E. L., Murphy, E. M., & Benner, R.

citation count

  • 26

publication date

  • September 2001