The ionic tracers lithium, sodium, chloride and bromide were used to measure flow loss in a small stream (≈︁ 10 ls−1). An injectate containing all four tracers was added continuously at five sites along a 507 m study reach of St Kevin Gulch, Lake County, Colorado to determine which sections of the stream were losing water to the stream bed and to ascertain how well the four tracers performed. The acidity of the stream (pH 3.6) made it possible for lithium and sodium, which are normally adsorbed by ion exchange with stream bed sediment, to be used as conservative tracers. Net flow losses as low as 0.8 ls−1, or 8% of flow, were calculated between measuring sites. By comparing the results of simultaneous injection it was determined whether subsections of the study reach were influent or effluent. Evaluation of tracer concentrations along 116 m of stream indicated that all four tracers behaved conservatively. Discharges measured by Parshall flumes were 4–18% greater than discharges measured by tracer dilution.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Testing and comparison of four ionic tracers to measure stream flow loss by multiple tracer injection|
|Series title||Hydrological Processes|
|Contributing office(s)||California Water Science Center|
|Other Geospatial||St. Kevin Gulch|