Geochemical mass balances were computed for water years 1992-1997 (October 1991 through September 1997) for the five watersheds of the U.S. Geological Survey Water, Energy, and Biogeochemical Budgets (WEBB) Program to determine the primary regional controls on yields of the major dissolved inorganic solutes. The sites, which vary markedly with respect to climate, geology, physiography, and ecology, are: Allequash Creek, Wisconsin (low-relief, humid continental forest); Andrews Creek, Colorado (cold alpine, taiga/tundra, and subalpine boreal forest); Ri??o Icacos, Puerto Rico (lower montane, wet tropical forest); Panola Mountain, Georgia (humid subtropical piedmont forest); and Sleepers River, Vermont (humid northern hardwood forest). Streamwater output fluxes were determined by constructing empirical multivariate concentration models including discharge and seasonal components. Input fluxes were computed from weekly wet-only or bulk precipitation sampling. Despite uncertainties in input fluxes arising from poorly defined elevation gradients, lack of dry-deposition and occult-deposition measurements, and uncertain sea-salt contributions, the following was concluded: (1) for solutes derived primarily from rock weathering (Ca, Mg, Na, K, and H4SiO4), net fluxes (outputs in streamflow minus inputs in deposition) varied by two orders of magnitude, which is attributed to a large gradient in rock weathering rates controlled by climate and geologic parent material; (2) the net flux of atmospherically derived solutes (NH4, NO3, SO4, and Cl) was similar among sites, with SO4 being the most variable and NH4 and NO3 generally retained (except for NO 3 at Andrews); and (3) relations among monthly solute fluxes and differences among solute concentration model parameters yielded additional insights into comparative biogeochemical processes at the sites. ?? 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Additional publication details
Water and solute mass balance of five small, relatively undisturbed watersheds in the U.S.