Surface water pathways and fluxes of metals under changing environmental conditions and human interventions in the Selenga River system

  • M. LychaginEmail author
  • S. Chalov
  • N. Kasimov
  • G. Shinkareva
  • J. Jarsjö
  • J. Thorslund
Thematic Issue
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Water in Central Asia


This paper presents the results of novel field campaigns in the extensive (447,000 km2) Selenga River basin, through which 304 samples of river water and 308 samples of suspended matter were collected during high and low water periods between 2011 and 2013. The Selenga River is the largest tributary (more than 50% of the inflow) to the Lake Baikal. Due to ongoing hydroclimatic change and human pressures under conditions of economic growth, the rivers of the area experience significant change in water quality. A key issue for improved understanding of regional impacts of the environmental change is to disentangle the influence of climate change from that of other pressures within the catchment. Our research aims to evaluate the pathways and mass flows of heavy metals and metalloids both in dissolved and suspended forms, taking a basin-scale perspective that previously has not been fully pursued in the Lake Baikal region. Results showed quality deterioration over short distances due to strong impact of hot spots from urban and industrial activities, including mining. The determined enrichment of dissolved metals in waters of Selenga River as well as the spatial and temporal variability of water and suspended sediment composition is further analyzed in the context of climatic, hydrological and land use drivers.


Selenga River Aquatic systems Transboundary basin Heavy metals Geochemical fluxes 



Field data and chemical analyses were obtained in frames of the Russian Geographical Society project “Complex Expedition Selenga-Baikal” and a number of Russian Fund for Basic Research projects. It was furthermore enabled by funding from the EU 7th framework programme Marie Curie Action–International Research Staff Exchange Scheme “FLUMEN” (Grant Agreement Number: PIRSES-GA-2012-318969) and the Swedish Research Council Formas (project 2012-790). Authors express special thanks to the Baikal Institute for Nature Management of SB RAS and Joint Russian-Mongolian Complex Biological Expedition for assistance in the implementation of fieldwork. Data analysis and interpretation were done in the frame of the Russian Science Foundation project No 14-27-00083.

Supplementary material

12665_2016_6304_MOESM1_ESM.docx (117 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 116 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Lychagin
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. Chalov
    • 1
  • N. Kasimov
    • 1
  • G. Shinkareva
    • 1
  • J. Jarsjö
    • 2
  • J. Thorslund
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of GeographyLomonosov Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussian Federation
  2. 2.Department of Physical Geography, Bolin Centre for Climate ResearchStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

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