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The chemical, isotopic, and morphologic evolution of a layered snowpack was investigated during the winter of 1993-94 at Sleepers River Research Watershed in Danville, Vermont. The snowpack was monitored at two small basins: a forested basin at 525 m elevation, and an agricultural basin at 292 m elevation. At each site, the snowpack morphology was characterized and individual layers were sampled seven times during the season. Nitrate and 8d18O profiles in the snowpack remained relatively stable until peak accumulation in mid-March, except near the snow surface, where rain-on-snow events caused water and nitrate movement down to impeding ice layers. Subsequently, water and nitrate moved more readily through the ripening snowpack. As the snowpack evolved, combined processes of preferential ion elution, isotopic fractionation, and infiltration of isotopically heavy rainfall caused the pack to become depleted in solutes and isotopically enriched. The release of nitrate and isotopically depleted water was reflected in patterns of nitrate concentrations and ??18O of meltwater and stream water. Results supported data from the previous year which suggested that streamflow in the forested basin during snowmelt was dominated by groundwater discharge.
Additional Publication Details
Chemical and isotopic evolution of a layered eastern U.S. snowpack and its relation to stream-water composition
Biogeochemistry of seasonally snow-covered catchments. Proc. symposium, Boulder, 1995