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Subglacial chemical erosion: seasonal variations in solute provenance, Haut Glacier D’Arolla, Valais, Switzerland

  • G. H. Brown (a1), M. Sharp (a2) and M. Tranter (a3)
Abstract

This paper determines the provenance of solute in bulk meltwaters draining Haut Glacier d’Arolla, Valais, Switzerland, during the 1989 ablation season. Dissolved species are partitioned into components derived from sea salt, acid aerosol, dissolution of atmospheric CO2, and lithogenic sources, namely carbonates, sulphides and aluminosillicates. A major conclusion is that trace geochemically reactive minerals in the bedrock contribute the bulk of the solute found in runoff. Seasonal changes in solute provenance and in the dominant chemical weathering process are observed. Whereas the chemical weathering of aluminosillicate minerals by carbonation reactions remains relatively constant during the ablation season, the chemical erosion of carbonates shows distinct seasonal variations, reflecting changes in the nature of the subglacial drainage system. Subglacial drainage structure and bedrock type are key controls on the extent of subglacial chemical weathering.

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References
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Annals of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0260-3055
  • EISSN: 1727-5644
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