Variations in streamwater temperature at the outlet of a 41-ha forested watershed at Panola Mountain in the Georgia Piedmont indicate that the initial rapid hydrologic response is caused by a combination of groundwater discharge and channel interception of rainwater. A storm in May 1986 caused a rapid increase in discharge that was accompanied by a decrease in streamwater temperature and a rise in the water table level adjacent to the stream. The higher water table provided the hydraulic gradient necessary to increase the discharge of colder groundwater to the stream. Storms that occurred under very dry antecedent conditions in July 1986 and June 1987 caused a rapid hydrologic response but no change in water table level, indicating the response was caused by channel interception of rainwater. This conclusion was supported by increases in streamwater temperature in the June storm and by chemical changes in the July storm. When rainfall is sufficient, flow in the ephemeral part of the stream in the catchment headwaters generates a second and larger discharge peak that reflects the chemistry and temperature of runoff from a 3-ha granite outcrop in the headwaters; sulfate concentration and temperature increase and alkalinity decreases relative to prestorm conditions. The initial response, however, results from channel interception and groundwater discharge. Rapid rises in the water table level during some storms suggest that macropore flow may play a major role in the hydrologic response of the watershed to rainstorms. ?? 1988.
Additional publication details
Preliminary observations of streamflow generation during storms in a forested Piedmont watershed using temperature as a tracer