Effects of catastrophic flooding on stream biogeochemistry in a headwater stream in Shenandoah National Park, USA

K. S. Reinhardt, T. Furman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This study examined the stream chemistry changes in Staunton River (a second-order headwater stream with an average annual discharge 704 m3 ha-1 yr-1, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia) resulting from a catastrophic flood in June 1995. This flood, which followed after 800 mm of rain in a 4-day period, caused large-scale debris flows and complete scouring of riparian soils down to bedrock in the lower 2 km of the stream, and has been estimated to be a 1000-year flood. The flood affected stream chemistry on both short- and long-term time scales. The primary short-term response was elevations in stream concentration of Ca2+, Mg2+, and K+ by 59%, 87%, and 49%, respectively, for 6 months immediately following the flood. The long-term impact of decreased concentration of all base cations and SiO2 during summer months (8% average) lasted about 2 years. At the episodic time scale, Ca2+, Mg2+, and K+ flushed from soil sources during pre-flood storms while Na+ and SiO2 diluted; these trends generally reversed during post-flood storms for 2 years. Short-term effects are attributed to the leaching of unconsolidated soil and upturned organic matter that clogged the streambed after the flood. The long-term and superimposed episodic impacts may have resulted from the loss of riparian soils and vegetation in the flood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3759-3771
Number of pages13
JournalHydrological Processes
Volume22
Issue number18
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 30 2008

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biogeochemistry
headwater
national park
flooding
soil
timescale
effect
debris flow
bedrock
cation
leaching
organic matter
vegetation
summer
river

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology

Cite this

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title = "Effects of catastrophic flooding on stream biogeochemistry in a headwater stream in Shenandoah National Park, USA",
abstract = "This study examined the stream chemistry changes in Staunton River (a second-order headwater stream with an average annual discharge 704 m3 ha-1 yr-1, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia) resulting from a catastrophic flood in June 1995. This flood, which followed after 800 mm of rain in a 4-day period, caused large-scale debris flows and complete scouring of riparian soils down to bedrock in the lower 2 km of the stream, and has been estimated to be a 1000-year flood. The flood affected stream chemistry on both short- and long-term time scales. The primary short-term response was elevations in stream concentration of Ca2+, Mg2+, and K+ by 59{\%}, 87{\%}, and 49{\%}, respectively, for 6 months immediately following the flood. The long-term impact of decreased concentration of all base cations and SiO2 during summer months (8{\%} average) lasted about 2 years. At the episodic time scale, Ca2+, Mg2+, and K+ flushed from soil sources during pre-flood storms while Na+ and SiO2 diluted; these trends generally reversed during post-flood storms for 2 years. Short-term effects are attributed to the leaching of unconsolidated soil and upturned organic matter that clogged the streambed after the flood. The long-term and superimposed episodic impacts may have resulted from the loss of riparian soils and vegetation in the flood.",
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Effects of catastrophic flooding on stream biogeochemistry in a headwater stream in Shenandoah National Park, USA. / Reinhardt, K. S.; Furman, T.

In: Hydrological Processes, Vol. 22, No. 18, 30.08.2008, p. 3759-3771.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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