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Research article2022Peer reviewed

Use of stable Mg isotope ratios in identifying the base cation sources of stream water in the boreal Krycklan catchment (Sweden)

Bolou-Bi, Bolou Emile; Legout, Arnaud; Laudon, Hjalmar; Louvat, Pascale; Pollier, Benoit; Gaillardet, Jerome; Bishop, Kevin; Kohler, Stephan J.


The knowledge of the sources of base cations in stream water is a prerequisite to assess potential effects of changing environmental conditions such as changing rainfall, weathering or groundwater flows on cation export with stream water. This study use stable Mg isotopes to identify potential sources in the well-studied catchment of Krycklan located on gneissic bedrock covered by quaternary sediments in Sweden. Samples were collected from open filed rain, throughfall, stream, soil, rock and litterfall. The delta Mg-26 values of these samples was determined and the contributions of different sources to Mg fluxes in the stream were determined from the variation of the Mg isotope and Sr / Mg ratios.The results show an overall variation of 1.10 parts per thousand between all samples. In addition, Magnesium isotope ratios varied little in the streamwater and in soil solution, except during snowmelt periods during which a large portion of the annual runoff occurs. Magnesium in the streamwater is explained as a mixture of three pools (open field rain, soil solution and groundwater) with the latter two influenced by catchment processes. Outside the snow-melt period, Mg in streamwater mainly derived from the groundwater, assumed to be mineral weathering signature in this catchment, with a contribution ranging from 12 to 63% to Mg fluxes. Open field rain dominates Mg fluxes in streamwater during spring flood (0 to 78%) and may contribute significantly during larger summer and autumn rainfall events. Soil solution input to streamwater range from 16 to 59% of Mg fluxes in streamwater. Our results demonstrate that delta Mg-26 values together with Mg concentrations and Sr/Mg ratios can be used to constrain the Mg sources of stream water and quantify weathering release rates.


Magnesium; Stable isotope; Soil; Riparian soil; Watershed; Krycklan

Published in

Chemical Geology
2022, Volume: 588, article number: 120651
Publisher: ELSEVIER