Toward a conceptual model relating chemical reaction fronts to water flow paths in hills

Susan L. Brantley, Marina I. Lebedeva, Victor N. Balashov, Kamini Singha, Pamela L. Sullivan, Gary Stinchcomb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Both vertical and lateral flows of rock and water occur within eroding hills. Specifically, when considered over geological timeframes, rock advects vertically upward under hilltops in landscapes experiencing uplift and erosion. Once rock particles reach the land surface, they move laterally and down the hillslope because of erosion. At much shorter timescales, meteoric water moves vertically downward until it reaches the regional water table and then moves laterally as groundwater flow. Water can also flow laterally in the shallow subsurface as interflow in zones of permeability contrast. Interflow can be perched or can occur during periods of a high regional water table. The depths of these deep and shallow water tables in hills fluctuate over time. The fluctuations drive biogeochemical reactions between water, CO2, O2, and minerals and these in turn drive fracturing. The depth intervals of water table fluctuation for interflow and groundwater flow are thus reaction fronts characterized by changes in composition, fracture density, porosity, and permeability. The shallow and deep reaction zones can separate over meters in felsic rocks. The zones act like valves that reorient downward unsaturated water flow into lateral saturated flow. The valves also reorient the upward advection of rock into lateral flow through solubilization. In particular, groundwater removes highly soluble, and interflow removes moderately soluble minerals. As rock and water moves through the system, hills may evolve toward a condition where the weathering advance rate, W, approaches the erosion rate, E. If W = E, the slopes of the deep and shallow reaction zones and the hillsides must allow removal of the most soluble, moderately soluble, and least soluble minerals respectively. A permeability architecture thus emerges to partition each evolving hill into dissolved and particulate material fluxes as it approaches steady state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-117
Number of pages18
JournalGeomorphology
Volume277
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 15 2017

Fingerprint

chemical reaction
water flow
water table
rock
permeability
groundwater flow
mineral
advance rate
erosion
water
unsaturated flow
felsic rock
solubilization
erosion rate
meteoric water
hillslope
land surface
advection
shallow water
weathering

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth-Surface Processes

Cite this

Brantley, Susan L. ; Lebedeva, Marina I. ; Balashov, Victor N. ; Singha, Kamini ; Sullivan, Pamela L. ; Stinchcomb, Gary. / Toward a conceptual model relating chemical reaction fronts to water flow paths in hills. In: Geomorphology. 2017 ; Vol. 277. pp. 100-117.
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Toward a conceptual model relating chemical reaction fronts to water flow paths in hills. / Brantley, Susan L.; Lebedeva, Marina I.; Balashov, Victor N.; Singha, Kamini; Sullivan, Pamela L.; Stinchcomb, Gary.

In: Geomorphology, Vol. 277, 15.01.2017, p. 100-117.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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