Mixing as a driver of temporal variations in river hydrochemistry: 2. Major and trace element concentration dynamics in the Andes-Amazon transition

Baronas, J. Jotautas and Torres, Mark A. and Clark, Kathryn E. and West, A. Joshua (2017) Mixing as a driver of temporal variations in river hydrochemistry: 2. Major and trace element concentration dynamics in the Andes-Amazon transition. Water Resources Research, 53 (4). pp. 3120-3145. ISSN 00431397 DOI https://doi.org/10.1002/2016WR019729

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Abstract

Variations in riverine solute chemistry with changing runoff are used to interrogate catchment hydrology and to investigate chemical reactions in Earth's critical zone. This approach requires some understanding of how spatial and temporal averaging of solute‐generating reactions affect the dissolved load of rivers and streams. In this study, we investigate the concentration‐runoff (C‐Q) dynamics of a suite of major (Na, Mg, Ca, Si, K, and SO4) and trace (Al, Ba, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ge, Li, Mn, Mo, Nd, Ni, Rb, Sr, U, V, and Zn) elements in nested catchments of variable size, spanning the geomorphic gradient from the Andes Mountains to the Amazon Foreland‐floodplain. The major elements exhibit various degrees of dilution with increasing runoff at all sites, whereas the concentrations of most trace elements either increase or show no relationship with increasing runoff in the three larger catchments (160–28,000 km2 area). We show that the observed main stem C‐Q dynamics are influenced by variable mixing of tributaries with distinct C‐Q relationships. Trace element C‐Q relationships are more variable among tributaries relative to major elements, which could be the result of variations in geomorphology, lithology, and hydrology of the subcatchments. Certain trace metals are also lost from solution during in‐channel processes (possibly related to colloidal size‐partitioning), which may exert an additional control on C‐Q dynamics. Overall, we suggest that tributary aggregation effects should be assessed in heterogeneous catchments before C‐Q or ratio‐Q relationships can be interpreted as reflecting catchment‐wide solute generation processes and their relationship to hydrology.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: NILAREP; IA72
Subjects: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
Divisions: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
08 - Green Open Access
Journal or Publication Title: Water Resources Research
Volume: 53
Page Range: pp. 3120-3145
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1002/2016WR019729
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 04 May 2018 09:10
Last Modified: 04 May 2018 09:10
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/4067

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