Landscape linkages between geothermal activity and solute composition and ecological response in surface waters draining the Atlantic slope of Costa Rica

Limnology and Oceanography
By: , and 

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Abstract

Surface waters draining three different volcanoes in Costa Rica, ranging from dormant to moderately active to explosive, have a wide range of solute compositions that partly reflects the contribution of different types of solute-rich, geothermal waters. Three major physical transport vectors affect flows of geothermally derived solutes: thermally driven convection of volcanic gases and geothermal fluids; lateral and gravity-driven downward transport of geothermal fluids; and wind dispersion of ash, gases, and acid rain. Specific vector combinations interact to determine landscape patterns in solute chemistry and biota: indicator taxa of algae and bacteria reflect factors such as high temperature, wind-driven or hydrologically transported acidity, high concentrations of various solutes, and chemical precipitation reactions. Many streams receiving geothermally derived solutes have high levels of soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) (up to 400 µg liter−1), a nutrient that is typically not measured in geochemical studies of geothermal waters. Regional differences in levels of SRP and other solutes among volcanoes were typically not significant due to high local variation in solute levels among geothermally modified streams and between geothermally modified and unmodified streams on each volcano. Geothermal activity along the volcanic spine of Costa Rica provides a natural source of phosphorus, silica, and other solutes and plays an important role in determining emergent landscape patterns in the solute chemistry of surface waters and aquatic biota.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Landscape linkages between geothermal activity and solute composition and ecological response in surface waters draining the Atlantic slope of Costa Rica
Series title Limnology and Oceanography
DOI 10.4319/lo.1993.38.4.0753
Volume 38
Issue 4
Year Published 1993
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description 22 p.
First page 753
Last page 774