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Hydrochemical characteristics and solute dynamics of meltwater runoff of Urumqi Glacier No.1, eastern Tianshan, northwest China

Abstract

Hydrochemical characteristics and solute dynamics of bulk meltwater draining from Urumqi Glacier No.1 were investigated in years 2006 and 2007. The glacial meltwater was slightly alkaline with the mean pH of 7.64 and 7.61 in 2006 and 2007, respectively. In the meltwater, the dominant anions were the bicarbonate and sulphate, and the dominant cation was calcium. The concentration of major cations were varied as c(Ca2+) > c(Mg2+) > c(K+) > c(Na+), while the order for the cations was c(HCO3 ) > c(SO4 2−) > c(NO3 ) > c(Cl). The total dissolved solids (TDS) in meltwater had inverse relationships with the diurnal discharge. The major ion composition of meltwater was mainly controlled by rock weathering as inferred from the Gibbs model. Furthermore, the ion ratios and Piper diagram indicated that the main processes controlling the meltwater chemistry were carbonate weathering, pyrite weathering and feldspar weathering in rocks, and Ca2+ and HCO3 were the dominant ions during the carbonate weathering process. Solute flux calculation at Glacier No.1 station suggested that chemical denudation rates were 11.46 and 13.90 ton·km−2·yr−1 in 2006 and 2007, respectively.

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Correspondence to Fang Feng.

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Feng, F., Li, Z., Jin, S. et al. Hydrochemical characteristics and solute dynamics of meltwater runoff of Urumqi Glacier No.1, eastern Tianshan, northwest China. J. Mt. Sci. 9, 472–482 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-012-2316-7

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Keywords

  • Ionic concentration
  • EC and TDS
  • Rock weathering
  • Solute fluxes
  • Urumqi Glacier No.1