Sources of stream water sulfate during the spring snowmelt in boreal streams: evidence from stable 34S isotope measurements
2008 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences, Vol. 113, no G01005Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Episodic hydrological events, such as snowmelt during spring, have a marked effect on stream water chemistry. Here we investigated how spring snowmelt affected δ 34S values of sulfate in six streams situated in northern Sweden. Four streams had high δ 34SSO4 values during base flow with values ranging from +11.9 to +8.6‰. During snowmelt the δ 34SSO4 decreased to around +6‰. In one of the streams and in the forested upper reaches of a second stream, δ 34SSO4 values were close to +5‰ during base flow and decreased to about +3.8‰ during the spring snowmelt. One stream, which drained cultivated postglacial sediments dominated by acid sulfuric soils, was differentiated from the other streams by low δ 34SSO4 values (−5.0‰ to −0.5‰). We could identify two stream water SO4 sources: sedimentary sulfides and anthropogenic S. Bacterial dissimilatory sulfate reduction was identified as an important process affecting stream water δ 34SSO4 values and suggests that in this boreal landscape, peatlands and possibly riparian zones have a large influence on the biogeochemistry of SO4 2− during base flow conditions. Our results suggest that during the spring snowmelt, snow S and desorbing SO4 of mainly anthropogenic origin are the two major S sources in four of the investigated streams. Two streams in forested areas also indicate that reoxidation of reduced S may be released during the spring flood. The stream in the cultivated area was found to be strongly influenced by the acid sulfuric soils independent of stream flow conditions.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 113, no G01005
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-16107DOI: 10.1029/2007JG000457ISI: 000252568800001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-16107DiVA: diva2:182627