, Volume 59, Issue 3-4, pp 201-215

Chloride cycling in two forested lake watersheds in the west-central adirondack mountains, New York, U.S.A.

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Abstract

The chemistry of precipitation, throughfall, soil water, ground water, and surface water was evaluated in two forested lake-watersheds over a 4-yr period to assess factors controlling Cl cycling. Results indicate that Cl cycling in these watersheds is more complex than the generally held view of the rapid transport of atmospherically derived Cl through the excosystem. The annual throughfall Cl flux for individual species in the northern hardwood forest was 2 to 5 times that of precipitation (56 eq ha−1), whereas the Na+ throughfall flux, in general, was similar to the precipitation flux. Concentrations of soil-water Cl sampled from ceramic tension lysimeters at 20 cm below land surface generally exceeded the Na+ concentrations and averaged 31 μeq L−1, the highest of any waters sampled in the watersheds, except throughfall under red spruce which averaged 34 μeq L−1. Chloride was concentrated prior to storms and mobilized rapidly during storms as suggested by increases in streamwater Cl concentrations with increasing flow. Major sources of Cl in both watersheds are the forest floor and hornblende weathering in the soils and till. In the Panther Lake watershed, which contains mainly thick deposits of till (>3 m), hornblende weathering results in a net Cl flux 3 times greater than that in the Woods Lake watershed, which contains mainly thin deposits of till. The estimated accumulation rate of Cl in the biomass of the two watersheds was comparable to the precipitation Cl flux.