Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 74, Issue 2, pp 1521–1537 | Cite as

Isotopic and hydrochemical composition of runoff in the Urumqi River, Tianshan Mountains, China

  • Sun Congjian
  • Li Weihong
  • Chen Yaning
  • Li Xingong
  • Yang Yuhui
Original Article

Abstract

Natural tracers can be used in arid regions to gain an understanding of streamflow generation and seasonal streamflow sources; their application can support water resources management, water quality studies, and assessments of the impacts of climate change. In this study, we identified hydrological processes in different seasons based on the chemical and isotopic compositions of the Urumqi River. Stable isotope (18O and D) ratios and major ion concentrations were measured on a monthly basis at six sites along the Urumqi River from December 2011 to October 2012. Most waters (groundwater, precipitation, glacier, meltwater, and river water) of the Urumqi River basin are the Ca–HCO3 water type. In the slow flow period, the ionic composition of the river water reflects weathering and dissolution of dolomite and gypsum. Water–rock interactions control the hydrochemical processes during the slow flow period, while the hydrochemical characteristics of river water in the quick flow period are controlled by precipitation, glacier water, and groundwater. The seasonal variation in river δ18O and δD values at different sites was similar to that of water entering the headwaters of the Urumqi River basin. The isotopic composition of precipitation was evaluated to obtain information on the effects of subcloud evaporation and moisture recycling on the formation and isotopic composition of precipitation in arid climatic conditions. We identified five different periods in streamflow using water chemistry and isotopic composition.

Keywords

Hydrochemical δ18O and δD River water Streamflow component 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grants 41101042, 41471030), and the One Hundred Talents Program (No. Y071121) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

References

  1. Aly AIM, Froehlich K, Nada A et al (1993) Study of environmental isotope distribution in the Aswan High Dam Lake (Egypt) for estimation of evaporation of lake water and its recharge to adjacent groundwater. Environ Geochem Health 15(1):37–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Burns DA (2002) Stormflow-hydrograph separation based on isotopes: the thrill is gone-what’s next? Hydrol Process 16(7):1515–1517CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Dansgaard W (1964) Stable isotopes in precipitation. Tellus 16(4):436–468CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Diaw M, Faye S, Stichler W et al (2012) Isotopic and geochemical characteristics of groundwater in the Senegal River delta aquifer: implication of recharge and flow regime. Environ Earth Sci 66:1011–1020CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dincer T, Payne BR, Florkowski T et al (1970) Snowmelt runoff from measurements of tritium and oxygen-18. Water Resour Res 6(1):110–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fontes JC, Gonfiantini R (1968) Comportement isotopique au cours de l’evaporation de deux bassins sahariens. Earth Planet Sci Lett 3:258–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Frederickson GC, Criss RE (1999) Isotope hydrology and residence times of the unimpounded Meramec River Basin, Missouri. Chem Geol 157(3):303–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Froehlich K, Kralik M, Papesch W et al (2008) Deuterium excess in precipitation of Alpine regions moisture recycling. Isot Environ Health Stud 44(1):61–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gat JR (1996) Oxygen and hydrogen isotopes in the hydrologic cycle. Annu Rev Earth Planet Sci 24(1):225–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gaye CB (1990) Isotopic and geochemical investigations of the recharge and discharge mode in the semi arid northern Senegal unconfined aquifers. PhD, University of Dakar, SenegalGoogle Scholar
  11. Han D, Liang X, Jin M, Currell M, Han Y, Song X (2009) Hydrogeochemical indicators of groundwater flow systems in the Yangwu River Alluvial Fan, Xinzhou Basin, Shanxi, China. Environ Manag 44:243–255. doi: 10.1007/s00267-009-9301-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jin L, Siegel DI, Lautz LK et al (2012) Identifying streamflow sources during spring snowmelt using water chemistry and isotopic composition in semi-arid mountain streams. J Hydrol 470–471:289–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kattan Zuhair (2008) Estimation of evaporation and irrigation return flow in arid zones using stable isotope ratios and chloride mass-balance analysis: case of the Euphrates River Syria. J Arid Environ 72(5):730–747CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kattan Z (2012) Chemical and isotopic compositions of the Euphrates river water, Syria. Monitoring isotopes in rivers: creation of the global network of isotopes in rivers (GNIR): 137Google Scholar
  15. Kendall Carol, Coplen Tyler B (2001) Distribution of oxygen-18 and deuterium in river waters across the United States. Hydrol Process 15(7):1363–1393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Maloszewski P, Zuber A (1982) Determining the turnover time of groundwater systems with the aid of environmental tracers: 1. models and their applicability. J Hydrol 57(3):207–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Maloszewski P, Rauert W, Trimborn P et al (1992) Isotope hydrological study of mean transit times in an alpine basin (Wimbachtal, Germany). J Hydrol 140(1):343–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Maloszewski P, Stichler W, Zuber A, Rank D (2002) Identifying the flow systems in a karstic-fissured-porous aquifer, the Schneealpe, Austria, by modelling of environmental 18O and 3H isotopes. J Hydrol 256(1):48–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Martinelli LA, Gat JR, De Camargo PB et al (2004) The Piracicaba River basin: isotope hydrology of a tropical river basin under anthropogenic stress. Isot Environ Health Stud 40(1):45–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Matsui E, Salati F, Friedman I, Brinkman WLF (1976) Isotopic hydrology in the Amazonia: 2. relative discharges of the Negro and Solimões rivers through 18O concentrations. Water Resour Res 12(4):781–785CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Meybeck M (1979) Concentration des Eaux Fluviales en Elements Majeurs et Apports en Solution aux Oceans. Rev Geol Dyn Geogr Phys 21(3):215–246Google Scholar
  22. Neal C, Rosier PT (1990) Chemical studies of chloride and stable oxygen isotopes in two conifer afforested and moorland sites in the British uplands. J Hydrol 115(1):269–283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pang Z, Kong Y, Froehlich K, Huang T et al (2011) Processes affecting isotopes in precipitation of an arid region. Tellus B 63(3):352–359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Payne BR, Quijano L, Carlos Latorre D (1979) Environmental isotopes in a study of the origin of salinity of groundwater in the Mexicali Valley. J Hydrol 41(3):201–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Rowley DB, Garzione CN (2007) Stable isotope-based paleoaltimetry. Annu Rev Earth Planet Sci 35:463–508CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Salati E, Dall’Olio A, Matsui E, Gat JR (1979) Recycling of water in the Amazon basin: an isotopic study. Water Resour Res 15(5):1250–1258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Shen YJ, Chen YN (2010) Global perspective on hydrology, water balance, and water resources management in arid basins. Hydrol Process 24(2):129–135Google Scholar
  28. Simpson HJ, Herczeg AL (1991) Stable isotopes as an indicator of evaporation in the River Murray, Australia. Water Resour Res 27(8):1925–1935CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sklash MG, Farvolden RN, Fritz P (1976) A conceptual model of watershed response to rainfall, developed through the use of oxygen-18 as a natural tracer. Can J Earth Sci 13(2):271–283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sun CJ, Chen YN, Li XG, Li WH (2014) Analysis on the streamflow components of the typical inland River, Northwest China. Hydrol Sci J THSJ 1000914. doi: 10.1080/02626667.2014.1000914
  31. Toth J (1999) Ground-water as a geologic agent: an overview of the cause, processes and manifestations. Hydrogeol J 7:1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Uhlenbrook S, Frey M, Leibundgut C, Maloszewski P (2002) Hydrograph separations in a mesoscale mountainous basin at event and seasonal timescales. Water Resour Res 38(6):31-1–31-14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Vega M, Pardo R, Barrado E et al (1998) Assessment of seasonal and polluting effects on the quality of river water by exploratory data analysis. Water Res 32(12):3581–3592CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Vitvar Tomas, Balderer Werner (1997) Estimation of mean water residence times and runoff generation by 18O measurements in a Pre-Alpine catchment (Rietholzbach, Eastern Switzer -land). Appl Geochem 12(6):787–796CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Vitvar Tomas et al (2002) Estimation of baseflow residence times in watersheds from the runoff hydrograph recession: method and application in the Neversink watershed, Catskill Mountains, New York. Hydrol Process 16(9):1871–1877CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wang S (2014) Hydrochemical and isotopic characteristics of groundwater in the Yanqi Basin of Xinjiang province, northwest China. Environ Earth Sci 71(1):427–440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wilhams MW, Yang D, Liu F et al (1995) Controls on the major ion chemistry of the Ürümqi River, Tian Shan, People’s Republic of China. J Hydrol 172(1):209–229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Winston W, Criss R (2003) Oxygen isotope and geochemical variations in the Missouri River. Environ Geol 43(5):546–556Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sun Congjian
    • 1
    • 2
  • Li Weihong
    • 1
  • Chen Yaning
    • 1
  • Li Xingong
    • 1
    • 3
  • Yang Yuhui
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and GeographyChinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)UrumqiChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.University of KansasLawrenceUSA
  4. 4.College of Geographic Science and TourismXinjiang Normal UniversityUrumqiChina

Personalised recommendations