Stable isotope characteristics of different water bodies in the Lhasa River Basin

  • Jiutan Liu
  • Zongjun GaoEmail author
  • Min Wang
  • Yingzhi Li
  • Chen Yu
  • Mengjie Shi
  • Hongying Zhang
  • Yuanyuan Ma
Original Article


Stable hydrogen and oxygen in different water bodies were investigated to understand the isotopic characteristics in the Lhasa River Basin. A total of 73 water samples were collected from the river, well and spring in this study. The stable isotopic compositions of different water bodies are influenced by evaporation, and the slope of the local meteoric water line deviates slightly from that of the global meteoric water line. The slopes of the surface water, groundwater and spring water lines are smaller than that of the global meteoric water line. The surface water originates from not only atmospheric precipitation but also glacial/snow meltwater, especially in the Dang River, the upper reaches of the Lhasa River and the Duilong River. The groundwater is derived from meteoric water, and there are certain differences between the source and the cyclic process of groundwater at different locations and depths. Spring water is conjunctively recharged by groundwater, surface water and precipitation, but groundwater is the main source of spring water. The altitude effect of hydrogen and oxygen isotopes in river water is not obvious in the whole basin, but it is noticeable in some areas due to the effect of climate and temperature. Surface water, groundwater and spring water have a relationship of reciprocal recharge, and the miscibility of groundwater is the strongest, with recharge from multiple water sources.


Stable isotopes Different water bodies Recharge relationship Altitude effect Lhasa River Basin 



This research was supported by the Center for Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology Survey, CGS (112120114059601, DD20160298).


  1. Bowen GJ, Ehleringer JR, Chesson LA, Stange E, Cerling TE (2007) Stable isotope ratios of tap water in the contiguous United States. Water Resour Res 43:399–407CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Clark I, Fritz P (1997) Environmental isotopes in hydrology. Boca Raton Fla Lewis Publishers 80:532Google Scholar
  3. Craig H (1961) Isotopic variations in meteoric waters. Science 133:1702–1703CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dansgaard W (1953) The abundance of O18 in atmospheric water and water vapour. Tellus 5:461–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dansgaard W (1964) Stable isotopes in precipitation. Tellus 16:436–468CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gao ZY, Wang XD, Yin G (2012) Isotopic effect of runoff in the Yarlung Zangbo River. Chin J Geochem 31:309–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gourcy LL, Groening M, Aggarwal PK (2005) Stable oxygen and hydrogen isotopes in precipitation, Springer Netherlands, 39–51Google Scholar
  8. Huang YM, Song XF, Zhang XP, He QH, Han Q, Fan FD, He W (2016) Stable water isotopes of different water bodies in the Dongting Lake Basin. Scientia Geographica Sinica 36:1252–1260Google Scholar
  9. IAEA and WMO (2014) Global network of isotopes in precipitation. The GNIP Database.
  10. Joussaume S, Sadourny R, Jouzel J (1984) A general circulation model of water isotope cycles in the atmosphere. Nature 311:680CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lamouroux C, Hani A (2006) Identification of groundwater flow paths in complex aquifer systems. Hydrol Process 20:2971–2987CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Li Z, Yao TD, Tian LD, Xu BQ, Wu GJ (2006) Variations of δ18O in precipitation from the Muztagata Glacier, East Pamirs. Chin Sci D (English Edition) 49:36–42Google Scholar
  13. Li G, Zhang XP, Zhang LF, Wang YF, Deng XJ, Yang L, Lei CG (2015) Stable isotope characteristics in different water bodies in Changsha and implications for the water cycle. Environ Sci 36:2094–2101Google Scholar
  14. Li G, Zhang XP, Song S, Yao TC, Xiang J, Deng XJ (2016) Research progress of δD and δ(18)O in different water bodies in China. Journal of Meteorology Environment 32:132–138Google Scholar
  15. Liu YH, An SQ, Xu Z, Fan NJ, Cui J, Wang ZS, Liu SR, Pan JY, Lin GH (2008) Spatio-temporal variation of stable isotopes of river waters, water source identification and water security in the Heishui Valley (China) during the dry-season. Hydrogeol J 16:311–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Liu ZF, Tian LD, Yao TD (2009) Spatial distribution of δ(18)O in precipitation over China. Chin Sci Bull 54:804–811Google Scholar
  17. Moser H, Stichler W (1975) Deuterium and oxygen-18 contents as an index of the properties of snow coversGoogle Scholar
  18. Ning AF, Yin G (2000) Characteristics of isotope distribution of atmospheric precipitation in the Lasa river area. J Mineral Petrol 3:95–99Google Scholar
  19. Qian H, Li PY, Wu JH, Zhou YH (2013) Isotopic characteristics of precipitation, surface and ground waters in;the Yinchuan plain, Northwest China. Environ Earth Sci 70:57–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Qiu X, Zhang MG, Wang SJ (2016) Preliminary research on hydrogen and oxygen stable isotope characteristics of different water bodies in the Qilian Mountains, northwestern Tibetan Plateau. Environ Earth Sci 75:1491CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rai SP, Purushothaman P, Kumar B, Jacob N, Rawat YS (2014) Stable isotopic composition of precipitation in the River Bhagirathi Basin and identification of source vapour. Environ Earth Sci 4835–4847Google Scholar
  22. Rai SP, Thayyen RJ, Purushothaman P, Kumar B (2016) Isotopic characteristics of cryospheric waters in parts of Western Himalayas, India. Environ Earth Sci 75:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Singh KP, Gupta S, Mohan D (2014) Evaluating influences of seasonal variations and anthropogenic activities on alluvial groundwater hydrochemistry using ensemble learning approaches. J Hydrol 511Google Scholar
  24. Song MY, Li ZQ, Jin S, Feng F, Wang XY (2015) Characteristics of water isotopes and hydrograph separation in the Glacier No.72 of Qingbingtan,Tomur Peak. J Arid Land Resour Environ 29(03):156–160Google Scholar
  25. Thorvaldur B (1972) Equation of isotope fractionation between ice and water in a melting snow column with continuous rain and percolation*. J Glaciol 11:387–405CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Tian LD, Yao TD, Pu JC, Yang ZH (1997) Characteristics of δ^O in summer precipitation at Lhasa. J Glaciol Geocryol 4:7–13Google Scholar
  27. Tian LD, Yao TD, Shen YP, Yang MX, Ye BS, Tsujimura M (2002) Study on stable isotope in river water and precipitation in Naqu River basin, Tibetan Plateau. Adv Water Sci 13:206–210Google Scholar
  28. Tian LD, Yao TD, Macclune K, White JWC, Schilla A, Vaughn B, Vachon R, Ichiyanagi K (2007) Stable isotopic variations in west China: a consideration of moisture sources. J Geophys Res Atmos 112:D10112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Wang J, Liu TC, Yin G (2000) Characteristics of isotope distribution in precipitation in the middle-lower reaches of Yarlung zangbo river. Geol-Geochemis 1:63–67Google Scholar
  30. Wang CX, Zhang J, Dong ZW, Qin X, Wang YZ (2015) Glacier meltwater runoff process analysis based on δD and δ(18)O isotope and chemistry in the Laohugou glacier basin of the Qilian Mountains. Arid Land Geogr 5:927–935Google Scholar
  31. Wei KQ, Lin RF, Wang ZX (1983) Hydrogen and oxygen stable isotopic composition and tritium content of waters from Yangbajing geothermal area. Xizang China Geochimica 165:4941–4949Google Scholar
  32. Wu JK, Ding YJ, Yang JH, Liu SW, Chen JZ, Zhou JX, Qin X (2016) Spatial variation of stable isotopes in different waters during melt season in the Laohugou Glacial Catchment, Shule River basin. J Mt Sci 13:1453–1463CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Yao ZJ, Liu J, Huang HQ, Song XF, Dong XH, Liu X (2009) Characteristics of isotope in precipitation, river water and lake water in the Manasarovar basin of Qinghai–Tibet Plateau. Environ Geol 57:551–556CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Yin G, Wang XD, Gao ZY, Yan QS, Huang Y (2008) Study of the hydrology of glacial runoff in Hailuogou Valley, Gongga Mountain by means of isotopic tracing. J Glaciol Geocryol 3:365–372Google Scholar
  35. Yin LH, Hou GC, Su XS, Wang D, Dong JQ, Hao YH, Wang XY (2011) Isotopes (δD and δ 18 O) in precipitation, groundwater and surface water in the Ordos Plateau, China: implications with respect to groundwater recharge and circulation. Hydrogeol J 19:429–443CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Yu TT, Gan YQ, Zhou AG, Liu CF, Liu YD, Li XQ, Cai HS (2010) Characteristics of oxygen and hydrogen isotope distribution of surface runoff in the Lhasa River Basin. Earth Sci 35:873–878Google Scholar
  37. Zhang YH, Wu YQ (2007) Variation of δ~(18)O in water in Heihe river basin. Adv Water Sci 6:864–870Google Scholar
  38. Zhang S, Yu WX, Zhang QL, Huang C, Zhang RS, Gu ZN (1973) The distribution of deuterium and heavy oxygen in snow and ice in the Mount Qomolangma regions of the southern Tibet. Scientia Sinica (Mathematica) 94–97Google Scholar
  39. Zhang XP, Yao TD, Tian LD (2003) Stable oxygen isotope in water mediums in Urumqi River basin. Adv Water Sci 14:50–56Google Scholar
  40. Zhang XP, Liu JM, He YQ, Tian LD, Yao TD (2005) Humidity effect and its influence on the seasonal distribution of precipitation δ~(18)O in monsoon regions. Adv Atmos Sci 22:271–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Zhang YH, Wu YQ, Wen XH, Su JP (2006) Application of environmental isotopes in water cycle. Adv Water Sci 5:738–747Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jiutan Liu
    • 1
  • Zongjun Gao
    • 1
    Email author
  • Min Wang
    • 1
  • Yingzhi Li
    • 2
  • Chen Yu
    • 1
  • Mengjie Shi
    • 1
  • Hongying Zhang
    • 1
  • Yuanyuan Ma
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Earth Science and EngineeringShandong University of Science and TechnologyQingdaoChina
  2. 2.Center for Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology Survey, China Geological SurveyBaodingChina

Personalised recommendations