Solute Inputs to Soil and Stream Waters in a Seasonally Snow-Covered Mountain Catchment Determined Using Ge/Si, ⁸⁷SR/⁸⁶SR and Major Ion Chemistry: Valles Caldera, New Mexico
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractWeathering releases lithogenic elements to soil and stream waters that support life in catchment ecosystems. Seasonal and inter-annual variations in hydrologic conditions change subsurface flowpaths, modifying the influence of weathering on stream waters. This study, over two climatically variable years, determined seasonal and inter-annual changes in solute sources to streams using a multi-tracer approach including major cations, strontium isotopes, germanium (Ge)/silica ratios, carbon species, and trace metals. Stream water cations display constant concentrations although discharge response was highly variable, suggesting that there is a consistent subsurface water supply. However, Sr isotope ratios, and concentrations of Ge, Fe, Al, and dissolved organic carbon, which originate from shallow soil waters, increase with the hydrograph during a wet winter snowmelt. This indicates that during a year with a thick snowpack, stream waters contain components of both shallow soilwater and groundwater during snowmelt, whereas during all other times groundwater contributes predominantly to the stream.
Degree ProgramGraduate College