Using isotopes to determine the contribution of volcanic ash to Sr and Ca in stream waters and plants in a granite watershed, Mt. Tsukuba, central Japan

  • Masami Kanao KoshikawaEmail author
  • Mirai Watanabe
  • Ki-Cheol Shin
  • Tatsuhiro Nishikiori
  • Takejiro Takamatsu
  • Seiji Hayashi
  • Takanori Nakano
Original Article


Strontium (Sr) isotope ratios of soils, stream water, plants, and atmospheric precipitation were used to trace calcium (Ca) and to determine the influence of volcanic ash in soils on Ca cycling in forest ecosystems in a small forested watershed on Mt. Tsukuba, central Japan. The 87Sr/86Sr ratios of soils on steep slopes and the valley floor ranged from 0.7110 to 0.7139, which indicates that the major source of Sr was the granite substrate (87Sr/86Sr ratio 0.7120–0.7131). Soils on a ridge had lower 87Sr/86Sr ratios (0.7068–0.7072), indicating that they were mainly composed of volcanic ash materials released around 30,000 years ago from Mt. Akagi (0.7069). The 87Sr/86Sr ratio decreased and the concentrations of Sr (and Ca) increased in stream water with increased elevation from the valley bottom to the ridge, indicating that volcanic ash was the dominant source of both cations in the upstream area. The contributions of volcanic ash-derived Sr to upstream and downstream water were 50 and 0–1 %, respectively. The 87Sr/86Sr ratios of plants were between those of the soils in which the plants were growing and those of atmospheric precipitation (0.7100). More than 74 % of the Sr in plants on the ridge, but <17 % in plants in the valley bottom, was volcanic ash-derived. The origin of Sr (and thus Ca) in stream waters and plants varied depending on the volcanic ash content in soils, which was significantly influenced by the site elevation.


Ca sources Sr-isotopes Atmospheric precipitation Soil Plants Stream water 



This work was partly supported by Joint Research Grant for the Environmental Isotope Study of Research Institute for Humanity and Nature.


  1. Arakawa Y, Takahashi Y (1989) Strontium isotopic and chemical variations of the granitic rocks in the Tsukuba district, Japan. Contrib Mineral Petrol 101:46–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bailey SW, Hornbeck JW, Driscoll CT, Gaudette HE (1996) Calcium inputs and transport in a base-poor forest ecosystem as interpreted by Sr isotopes. Water Resour Res 32:707–917CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Belanger N, Holmden C, Courchesne F, Cote B, Hendershot WH (2012) Constraining soil mineral weathering 87Sr/86Sr for calcium apportionment studies of a deciduous forest growing on soils developed from granitoid igneous rocks. Geoderma 185–186:84–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blakemore LC, Searle PL, Daly BK (1981) Methods for chemical analysis of soils. New Zealand Soil Bureau Scientific Report 10A, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, New ZealandGoogle Scholar
  5. Blum JD, Klaue A, Nezat CA, Driscoll CT, Johnson CE, Siccama TG et al (2002) Mycorrhizal weathering of apatite as an important calcium source in base-poor forest ecosystems. Nature 417:729–731CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brennan SR, Fernandez DP, Mackey G, Cerling TE, Bataille CP, Bowen GJ, Wooler MJ (2014) Strontium isotope variation and carbonate versus silicate weathering in rivers across Alaska: implications for provenance studies. Chem Geol 389:167–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bulger AJ, Lien L, Cosby BJ, Henriksen A (1993) Brown trout (Salmo trutta) status and chemistry from the Norwegian thousand lake survey: statistical analysis. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 50:575–585CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Capo RC, Stewart BW, Chadwick OA (1998) Strontium isotopes as tracers of ecosystem processes: theory and methods. Geoderma 82:197–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chadwick OA, Derry LA, Vitousek PM, Huebert BJ, Hedin LO (1999) Changing sources of nutrients during four million years of ecosystem development. Nature 397:491–497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chadwick OA, Derry LA, Bern CR, Vitousek PM (2009) Changing sources of strontium to soils and ecosystems across the Hawaiian Islands. Chem Geol 267:64–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cronan CS, Grigal DF (1995) Use of calcium/aluminum ratio as indicators of stress in forest ecosystems. J Environ Qual 24:209–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Driscoll CT, Lawrence GB, Bulger AJ, Butler TJ, Cronan CS, Eager C et al (2001) Acidic deposition in the northearstern United States: sources and inputs, ecosystem effects, and management strategies. Bioscience 51:180–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Faure G, Mensing TM (2005) Isotopes: principles and applications, 3rd edn. Wiley, HobokenGoogle Scholar
  14. Gosz JR, Moore D (1989) Strontium isotope studies of atmospheric inputs to forested watersheds in New Mexico. Biogeochemistry 8:115–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hirata T, Muraoka K (1986) Study on water purification of forest from view of stream water quality (II) hydrological runoff and streamwater quality survey, vol 95. Research Report from the National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan, pp 37–55 (in Japanese with English abstract) Google Scholar
  16. Hou H, Takamatsu T, Koshikawa MK, Hosomi M (2005) Trace metals in bulk precipitation and through fall in a suburban area of Japan. Atmos Environ 39:3583–3595CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hou H, Takamatsu T, Koshikawa MK, Hosomi M (2006) Concentrations of Ag, In, Sn, Sb, and Bi, and their chemical fractionation in typical soils in Japan. Eur J Soil Sci 57:214–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ibaraki Prefecture (1983) Land classification map 1:200,00, Makabe, Ibaraki Prefectural Office, Mito (in Japanese) Google Scholar
  19. Ikeda H, Miyanaga Y (2001) Comparison of acid neutralization by chemical weathering between acidified and non-acidified watersheds. Water Air Soil Pollut 131:407–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Imaya A, Yoshinaga S, Inagaki Y, Tanaka N, Ohta S (2010) Volcanic ash additions control soil carbon accumulation in brown forest soils in Japan. Soil Sci Plant Nutr 56:734–744CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. IUSS Working Group WRB (2007) World reference base for soil resources 2006, first update 2007. World Soil Resources Reports No. 103. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  22. Japan Meteorological Agency (2015) Climate statistics. Japan Meteorological Agency, Tokyo. Accessed 4 Mar 2015
  23. Karizumi N (2010) The latest illustrations of tree roots. Seibundo Shinkosha, Tokyo (in Japanese) Google Scholar
  24. Kobayashi K, Nakamura E (2001) Geochemical evolution of Akagi volcano, NE Japan: implications for interaction between island-arc magma and lower crust, and generation of isotopically various magmas. J Petrol 42:2303–2331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Maejima Y (2007) Classification of soils in Mt. Tsukuba. In: Japanese Society of Pedology (ed) Dojo o aishi dojo o mamoru. Hakuyusya, Tokyo, pp 147–149 (in Japanese) Google Scholar
  26. Matsubara H, Morimoto S, Sase H, Ohizumi T, Sumida H, Nakata M et al (2009) Long-term declining trend in river water pH in central Japan. Water Air Soil Pollut 200:1–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Meybeck M (2005) Global occurrence of Major Elements in Rivers. In: Drever JI (ed) Surface and ground water, weathering, and soils. Elsevier-Pergamon, Oxford, pp 207–223Google Scholar
  28. Miller EK, Blum JD, Friedland AJ (1993) Determination of soil exchangeable-cation loss and weathering rates using Sr isotopes. Nature 362:438–441CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Na CK, Nakano T, Tazawa K, Sakagawa M, Ito T (1995) A systematic and practical method of liquid chromatography for the determination of Sr and Nd isotopic ratios and REE concentrations in geological samples. Chem Geol 123:225–237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Nakahara O, Takahashi M, Sase H, Yamada T, Matsuda K, Ohizumi T et al (2010) Soil and stream water acidification in a forested catchment in central Japan. Biogeochemistry 97:141–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Nakano T, Yokoo Y, Yamanaka M (2001) Sr isotope constraint on the provenance of base cation in soilwater and streamwater in the Kawakami volcanic rock watershed, central Japan. Hydrol Process 15:1859–1875CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nakano T, Morohashi S, Yasuda H, Sakai M, Aizawa S, Shichi K et al (2006) Determination of seasonal and regional variation on the provenance of dissolved cations in rain in Japan based on Sr and Pb isotopes. Atmos Environ 40:7409–7420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Nakano T, Yokoo Y, Okumura M, Jeon SR, Satake K (2012) Evaluation of the impacts of marine salts and Asian dust on the forested Yakushima island ecosystem, a world natural heritage site in Japan. Water Air Soil Pollut 223:5575–5597CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Neal C, Kirchner JW (2000) Sodium and chloride levels in rainfall, mist, streamwater and groundwater at the Plynlimon catchments, mid-Wales: inferences on hydrological and chemical controls. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 4:295–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Negrel P, Allegre CJ, Dupre B, Lewin E (1993) Erosion sources determined by inversion of major and trace element ratios and strontium isotopic rations in river water: the Congo Basin case. Earth Planet Sci Lett 120:59–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Negrel P, Casanova J, Aranyossy JF (2001) Strontium isotope systematics used to decipher the origin of groundwateres samples from granitoids: the Vienne Case (France). Chem Geol 177:287–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Nishikiori T, Watanabe M, Koshikawa MK, Takamatsu T, Ishii Y, Ito S, Takenaka A, Watanabe K, Hayashi S (2015) Uptake and translocation of radiocesium in cedar leaves following the Fukushima nuclear accident. Sci Total Environ 502:611–616CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Petrini R, Pennisi M, Antisari LV, Cidu R, Vianello G, Aviani U (2014) Geochemistry and stable isotope composition of surface waters from the Ravenna plain (Italy): implications for the management of water resources in agricultural lands. Environ Earth Sci 71:5099–5111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Probst A, El Gh’mari A, Aubert D, Fritz B, McNutt R (2000) Strontium as a tracer of weathering processes in a silicate catchment polluted by acid atmospheric inputs, Strengbach, France. Chem Geol 170:203–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Saccone L, Conley DJ, Likens GE, Bailey SW, Buso DC, Johnson CE (2008) Factors that control the range and variability of amorphous silica in soils in the Hubbard Brook experimental forest. Soil Sci Soc Am J 72:1637–1644CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Shindo J, Fumoto T, Oura N, Nakano T, Takamatsu T (2001) Estimation of mineral weathering rates under field conditions based on base cation budget and strontium isotope ratios. Water Air Soil Pollut 130:1259–1264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Stewart BW, Capo RC, Chadwick OA (1998) Quantitative strontium isotope models for weathering, pedogenesis and biogeochemical cycling. Geoderma 82:173–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Takahashi Y (1982) Mineralogy of the granititic rocks in the Tsukuba area. J Japan Assoc Mineral Petrol Econ Geol 77:278–283 (in Japanese with English abstract) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Tohgoh H, Tanaka H, Takasaki Y, Endoh A (1989) The change in the surface characteristics of amorphous clay mineral separated from Kanuma pumice layer by treatment with aqueous NaOH solution. Nippon Kagaku Kaishi 11:1949–1956 (in Japanese with English abstract) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wakamatsu T, Konohira E, Shindo J, Yoshioka T, Okamoto K, Itaya A, Kim MS (2006) Dissolved inorganic phosphate concentration in stream water in Japan and factors controlling the concentration. J Jpn Soc Water Environ 29:679–686 (in Japanese with English abstract) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Watmough SA (2014) Calcium, strontium and barium biogeochemistry in a forested catchment and insight into elemental discrimination. Biogeochemistry 118:357–369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Whipkey CE, Capo RC, Chadwick OA, Stewart BW (2000) The importance of sea spray to the cation budget of a coastal Hawaiian soil: a strontium isotope approach. Chem Geol 168:37–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Yoshioka T, Takizawa F, Takahashi M, Miyazaki K, Banno Y, Yanagisawa Y et al (2001) Geological map of Japan 1:200,000, Mito, 2nd edn. Geological Survey of Japan, Tsukuba (in Japanese with English summary) Google Scholar
  49. Zetterberg T, Köhler SJ, Löfgren S (2014) Sensitivity analyses of MAGIC modelled predictions of future impacts of whole-tree harvest on soil calcium supply and stream acid neutralizing capacity. Sci Total Environ 494–495:187–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masami Kanao Koshikawa
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mirai Watanabe
    • 1
  • Ki-Cheol Shin
    • 2
  • Tatsuhiro Nishikiori
    • 1
  • Takejiro Takamatsu
    • 1
  • Seiji Hayashi
    • 1
  • Takanori Nakano
    • 2
  1. 1.National Institute for Environmental StudiesTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Research Institute for Humanity and NatureKyotoJapan

Personalised recommendations