The importance of mineral weathering was assessed and compared for five mid-Atlantic watersheds receiving similar atmospheric inputs but underlain by differing bedrock. Annual solute mass balances and volume-weighted mean solute concentrations were calculated for each watershed for each year of record. In addition, primary and secondary mineralogy were determined for each of the watersheds through analysis of soil samples and thin sections using petrographic, scanning electron microscope, electron microprobe and X-ray diffraction techniques. Mineralogical data were also compiled from the literature. These data were input to NETPATH, a geochemical program that calculates the masses of minerals that react with precipitation to produce stream water chemistry. The feasibilities of the weathering scenarios calculated by NETPATH were evaluated based on relative abundances and reactivities of minerals in the watershed. In watersheds underlain by reactive bedrocks, weathering reactions explained the stream base cation loading. In the acid-sensitive watersheds on unreactive bedrock, calculated weathering scenarios were not consistent with the abundance of reactive minerals in the underlying bedrock, and alternative sources of base cations are discussed. ?? 1997 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Additional publication details
Use of geochemical mass balance modelling to evaluate the role of weathering in determining stream chemistry in five mid-Atlantic watersheds on different lithologies