Geochemical and Isotopic Evidence of a Groundwater Source in the Corral Canyon Meadow Complex, Central Nevada, USA

TitleGeochemical and Isotopic Evidence of a Groundwater Source in the Corral Canyon Meadow Complex, Central Nevada, USA
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsAtekwana E.A, Richardson D.S
JournalHydrological Processes
Volume18
Pagination2801-2815
Date PublishedOct 30
ISBN Number0885-6087
Accession NumberWOS:000224746100004
Keywordsbasin, discharge, dissolved inorganic carbon, great basin, hydrology, major ion chemistry, meadow complexes, restoration, riparian meadows, southern nevada, stable isotope, stream, surface-water, western united-states
Abstract

Major inorganic ions and stable carbon and oxygen isotopes in stream water, groundwater, groundwater seeps and springs were measured in the Corral Canyon meadow complex and watershed in the Toquima Mountains of central Nevada, USA. The purpose of the study was to determine whether stream water or groundwater was the source of water that supports vegetation in the meadow complex. Water samples from the watershed and meadow complex were mixed cation-HCO3 type. Stream water sampled at different locations in the meadow complex showed variations in temperature, pH and specific conductance. The cation-anion proportions for stream water were similar to groundwater, groundwater seeps and runoff from the meadow complex. Stable oxygen isotope ratios for stream water (-17(.)1 to -17(.)6parts per thousand versus VSMOW) and groundwater and groundwater seeps in the meadow site (-17(.)0 to -17(.)7parts per thousand versus VSMOW) were similar, and consistent with a local meteoric origin. Dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and the delta(13)C(DIC) for stream water (-12(.)1 to -15(.)0parts per thousand versus VPDB) were different from that of groundwater from the meadow complex (-15(.)3 to -19(.)9parts per thousand versus VPDB), suggesting different carbon evolution pathways. However, a simple model based on cation delta(13)C(DIC) suggests that stream water was being recharged by shallow groundwater, groundwater seeps and runoff from the meadow complex. This leads to the conclusion that the source of water that supports vegetation in the meadow complex was primarily groundwater. The results of this study suggest that multiple chemical and stable carbon isotope tracers are useful in determining the source of water that supports vegetation in meadow complexes in small alpine watersheds. Copyright (C) 2004 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.

Short TitleHydrol Process
Alternate JournalHydrol Process