Tracing river chemistry in space and time : dissolved inorganic constituents of the Fraser River, Canada
Voss, Britta M.
Eglinton, Timothy I.
Fiske, Gregory J.
Wang, Zhaohui Aleck
Hoering, Katherine A.
Montlucon, Daniel B.
Gillies, Sharon L.
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The Fraser River basin in southwestern Canada bears unique geologic and climatic features which make it an ideal setting for investigating the origins, transformations and delivery to the coast of dissolved riverine loads under relatively pristine conditions. We present results from sampling campaigns over three years which demonstrate the lithologic and hydrologic controls on fluxes and isotope compositions of major dissolved inorganic runoff constituents (dissolved nutrients, major and trace elements, 87Sr/86Sr, δD). A time series record near the Fraser mouth allows us to generate new estimates of discharge-weighted concentrations and fluxes, and an overall chemical weathering rate of 32 t km-2 y-1. The seasonal variations in dissolved inorganic species are driven by changes in hydrology, which vary in timing across the basin. The time series record of dissolved 87Sr/86Sr is of particular interest, as a consistent shift between higher (“more radiogenic”) values during spring and summer and less radiogenic values in fall and winter demonstrates the seasonal variability in source contributions throughout the basin. This seasonal shift is also quite large (0.709 – 0.714), with a discharge-weighted annual average of 0.7120 (2 s.d. = 0.0003). We present a mixing model which predicts the seasonal evolution of dissolved 87Sr/86Sr based on tributary compositions and water discharge. This model highlights the importance of chemical weathering fluxes from the old sedimentary bedrock of headwater drainage regions, despite their relatively small contribution to the total water flux.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2013. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Elsevier for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 124 (2014): 283-308, doi:10.1016/j.gca.2013.09.006.
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