Chemical weathering and lithologic controls of water chemistry in a high-elevation river system: Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone river, Wyoming and Montana

Travis W. Horton, C. Page Chamberlain, Matt Fantle, Joel D. Blum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

Seasonal analyses of surface water geochemistry were conducted in the Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone watershed to determine whole-rock weathering rates. The Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone is a high-elevation catchment with distinct bedrock lithologies. Using dissolved solute concentrations and stream flow data, we calculated cation denudation rates of 119 g m-2 yr-1 (65,900 eq ha-1 yr-1) for carbonate-rich sedimentary rocks, 16.6 g m-2 yr-1 (8200 eq ha-1 yr-1) for andesitic volcanics, and 9.8 g m-2 yr-1 (5300 eq ha-1 yr-1) for granitic gneisses. Ca/Na ratios indicate that chemical weathering of disseminated calcite in granitic rocks contributes to the total solute load in these subcatchments. Removal of this calcite component decreased our calculated granitic weathering rate to 3.4 g m-2 yr-1 (2100 eq ha-1 yr-1).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1643-1655
Number of pages13
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume35
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology

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