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Title: Depth‐ and Time‐Resolved Distributions of Snowmelt‐Driven Hillslope Subsurface Flow and Transport and Their Contributions to Surface Waters

Abstract

Major components of hydrologic and elemental cycles reside underground, where their complex dynamics and linkages to surface waters are obscure. We delineated seasonal subsurface flow and transport dynamics along a hillslope in the Rocky Mountains (USA), where precipitation occurs primarily as winter snow and drainage discharges into the East River, a tributary of the Gunnison River. Hydraulic and geochemical measurements down to 10 m below ground surface supported application of transmissivity feedback of snowmelt to describe subsurface flow and transport through three zones: soil, weathering shale, and saturated fractured shale. Groundwater flow is predicted to depths of at least 176 m, although a shallower limit exists if hillslope-scale hydraulic conductivities are higher than our local measurements. Snowmelt during the high snowpack water year 2017 sustained flow along the weathering zone and downslope within the soil, while negligible downslope flow occurred along the soil during the low snowpack water year 2018. We introduce subsurface concentration-discharge ( C-Q) relations for explaining hillslope contributions to C-Q observed in rivers and demonstrate their calculations based on transmissivity fluxes and measured pore water specific conductance and dissolved organic carbon. The specific conductance data show that major ions in the hillslope pore waters, primarily from themore » weathering and fractured shale, are about six times more concentrated than in the river, indicating hillslope solute loads are disproportionately high, while flow from this site and similar regions are relatively smaller. This methodology is applicable in different representative environments within snow-dominated watersheds for linking their subsurface exports to surface waters.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [2]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [4]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [5];  [1];  [6];  [1];  [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [7] more »; ORCiD logo [1];  [1]; ORCiD logo [1] « less
  1. Earth and Environmental Sciences Area, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Berkeley California USA
  2. Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory Crested Butte Colorado USA
  3. Earth and Environmental Sciences Area, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Berkeley California USA, Water Research Institute Hanoi Vietnam
  4. Division of Hydrological SciencesDesert Research Institute Reno Nevada USA
  5. Department of Earth and Planetary ScienceUniversity of California Berkeley California USA
  6. Earth and Environmental Sciences Area, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Berkeley California USA, Department of Earth and Planetary ScienceUniversity of California Berkeley California USA
  7. Subsurface Insights Hanover New Hampshire USA
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
OSTI Identifier:
1580159
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1580160; OSTI ID: 1581758
Grant/Contract Number:  
[DE‐AC02‐05CH11231; AC02-05CH11231]
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Water Resources Research
Additional Journal Information:
[Journal Name: Water Resources Research Journal Volume: 55 Journal Issue: 11]; Journal ID: ISSN 0043-1397
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; recharge; hillslope; transmissivity; concentration-discharge; groundwater; snowmelt

Citation Formats

Tokunaga, Tetsu K., Wan, Jiamin, Williams, Kenneth H., Brown, Wendy, Henderson, Amanda, Kim, Yongman, Tran, Anh Phuong, Conrad, Mark E., Bill, Markus, Carroll, Rosemary W. H., Dong, Wenming, Xu, Zexuan, Lavy, Adi, Gilbert, Ben, Romero, Sergio, Christensen, John N., Faybishenko, Boris, Arora, Bhavna, Siirila‐Woodburn, Erica R., Versteeg, Roelof, Raberg, Jonathan H., Peterson, John E., and Hubbard, Susan S. Depth‐ and Time‐Resolved Distributions of Snowmelt‐Driven Hillslope Subsurface Flow and Transport and Their Contributions to Surface Waters. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1029/2019WR025093.
Tokunaga, Tetsu K., Wan, Jiamin, Williams, Kenneth H., Brown, Wendy, Henderson, Amanda, Kim, Yongman, Tran, Anh Phuong, Conrad, Mark E., Bill, Markus, Carroll, Rosemary W. H., Dong, Wenming, Xu, Zexuan, Lavy, Adi, Gilbert, Ben, Romero, Sergio, Christensen, John N., Faybishenko, Boris, Arora, Bhavna, Siirila‐Woodburn, Erica R., Versteeg, Roelof, Raberg, Jonathan H., Peterson, John E., & Hubbard, Susan S. Depth‐ and Time‐Resolved Distributions of Snowmelt‐Driven Hillslope Subsurface Flow and Transport and Their Contributions to Surface Waters. United States. doi:10.1029/2019WR025093.
Tokunaga, Tetsu K., Wan, Jiamin, Williams, Kenneth H., Brown, Wendy, Henderson, Amanda, Kim, Yongman, Tran, Anh Phuong, Conrad, Mark E., Bill, Markus, Carroll, Rosemary W. H., Dong, Wenming, Xu, Zexuan, Lavy, Adi, Gilbert, Ben, Romero, Sergio, Christensen, John N., Faybishenko, Boris, Arora, Bhavna, Siirila‐Woodburn, Erica R., Versteeg, Roelof, Raberg, Jonathan H., Peterson, John E., and Hubbard, Susan S. Fri . "Depth‐ and Time‐Resolved Distributions of Snowmelt‐Driven Hillslope Subsurface Flow and Transport and Their Contributions to Surface Waters". United States. doi:10.1029/2019WR025093.
@article{osti_1580159,
title = {Depth‐ and Time‐Resolved Distributions of Snowmelt‐Driven Hillslope Subsurface Flow and Transport and Their Contributions to Surface Waters},
author = {Tokunaga, Tetsu K. and Wan, Jiamin and Williams, Kenneth H. and Brown, Wendy and Henderson, Amanda and Kim, Yongman and Tran, Anh Phuong and Conrad, Mark E. and Bill, Markus and Carroll, Rosemary W. H. and Dong, Wenming and Xu, Zexuan and Lavy, Adi and Gilbert, Ben and Romero, Sergio and Christensen, John N. and Faybishenko, Boris and Arora, Bhavna and Siirila‐Woodburn, Erica R. and Versteeg, Roelof and Raberg, Jonathan H. and Peterson, John E. and Hubbard, Susan S.},
abstractNote = {Major components of hydrologic and elemental cycles reside underground, where their complex dynamics and linkages to surface waters are obscure. We delineated seasonal subsurface flow and transport dynamics along a hillslope in the Rocky Mountains (USA), where precipitation occurs primarily as winter snow and drainage discharges into the East River, a tributary of the Gunnison River. Hydraulic and geochemical measurements down to 10 m below ground surface supported application of transmissivity feedback of snowmelt to describe subsurface flow and transport through three zones: soil, weathering shale, and saturated fractured shale. Groundwater flow is predicted to depths of at least 176 m, although a shallower limit exists if hillslope-scale hydraulic conductivities are higher than our local measurements. Snowmelt during the high snowpack water year 2017 sustained flow along the weathering zone and downslope within the soil, while negligible downslope flow occurred along the soil during the low snowpack water year 2018. We introduce subsurface concentration-discharge (C-Q) relations for explaining hillslope contributions to C-Q observed in rivers and demonstrate their calculations based on transmissivity fluxes and measured pore water specific conductance and dissolved organic carbon. The specific conductance data show that major ions in the hillslope pore waters, primarily from the weathering and fractured shale, are about six times more concentrated than in the river, indicating hillslope solute loads are disproportionately high, while flow from this site and similar regions are relatively smaller. This methodology is applicable in different representative environments within snow-dominated watersheds for linking their subsurface exports to surface waters.},
doi = {10.1029/2019WR025093},
journal = {Water Resources Research},
number = [11],
volume = [55],
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {11}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
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DOI: 10.1029/2019WR025093

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