thumbnail

A 17-year record of environmental tracers in spring discharge, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA: use of climatic data and environmental conditions to interpret discharge, dissolved solutes, and tracer concentrations

Aquatic Geochemistry

By:
and
DOI: 10.1007/s10498-013-9202-y

Links

Abstract

A 17-year record (1995–2012) of a suite of environmental tracer concentrations in discharge from 34 springs located along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park (SNP), Virginia, USA, reveals patterns and trends that can be related to climatic and environmental conditions. These data include a 12-year time series of monthly sampling at five springs, with measurements of temperature, specific conductance, pH, and discharge recorded at 30-min intervals. The monthly measurements include age tracers (CFC-11, CFC-12, CFC-113, CFC-13, SF6, and SF5CF3), dissolved gases (N2, O2, Ar, CO2, and CH4), stable isotopes of water, and major and trace inorganic constituents. The chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) concentrations (in pptv) in spring discharge closely follow the concurrent monthly measurements of their atmospheric mixing ratios measured at the Air Monitoring Station at Big Meadows, SNP, indicating waters 0–3 years in age. A 2-year (2001–2003) record of unsaturated zone air displayed seasonal deviations from North American Air of ±10 % for CFC-11 and CFC-113, with excess CFC-11 and CFC-113 in peak summer and depletion in peak winter. The pattern in unsaturated zone soil CFCs is a function of gas solubility in soil water and seasonal unsaturated zone temperatures. Using the increase in the SF6 atmospheric mixing ratio, the apparent (piston flow) SF6 age of the water varied seasonally between about 0 (modern) in January and up to 3 years in July–August. The SF6 concentration and concentrations of dissolved solutes (SiO2, Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+, Cl, and HCO3) in spring discharge demonstrate a fraction of recent recharge following large precipitation events. The output of solutes in the discharge of springs minus the input from atmospheric deposition per hectare of watershed area (mol ha−1 a−1) were approximately twofold greater in watersheds draining the regolith of Catoctin metabasalts than that of granitic gneisses and granitoid crystalline rocks. The stable isotopic composition of water in spring discharge broadly correlates with the Oceanic Niño Index. Below normal precipitation and enriched stable isotopic composition were observed during El Niño years.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
A 17-year record of environmental tracers in spring discharge, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA: use of climatic data and environmental conditions to interpret discharge, dissolved solutes, and tracer concentrations
Series title:
Aquatic Geochemistry
DOI:
10.1007/s10498-013-9202-y
Volume
20
Issue:
2-3
Year Published:
2014
Language:
English
Publisher:
Springer
Contributing office(s):
National Research Program - Eastern Branch
Description:
24 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Aquatic Geochemistry
First page:
267
Last page:
290
Country:
United States
State:
Virginia
Other Geospatial:
Shenandoah National Park