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Hydrogeochemical analysis and identification of weathering processes to determine the solute sources in meltwater of Chaturangi glacier, Garhwal Himalaya, India
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  • Harish Bisht,
  • Bahadur Kotlia,
  • Kireet Kumar,
  • Prakash Arya,
  • Saurabh Sah,
  • Mohit Tiwari,
  • Rajeev Upadhyay
Harish Bisht
Kumaun University
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Bahadur Kotlia
Kumaun University
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Kireet Kumar
GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development
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Prakash Arya
Indian Institute of Science
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Saurabh Sah
GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development
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Mohit Tiwari
GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development
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Rajeev Upadhyay
Kumaun University
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Abstract

This paper presents an insight on the major ion chemistry of Chaturangi glacier meltwater and chemical weathering processes to identify ionic sources and factors controlling the ionic composition of meltwater during the ablation year 2015 and 2016. The analytical results show that the meltwater is slightly acidic in nature with Mg-HCO3 and Ca-HCO3 dominated hydrochemical facies in years 2015 and 2016 respectively. In glacier meltwater, Ca2+ is the most dominant cation and HCO3- is the most dominant anion in both the years. Due to less anthropogenic influence, chemical weathering of the surrounding rocks is the foremost mechanism, controlling the hydrogeochemistry of meltwater. The gibbs plot and mineralogy of surrounding rocks suggests that ionic concentration of meltwater is mainly controlled by rock weathering with little contribution from the atmosphere. A comparatively higher contribution of (Ca+Mg) in total cations and higher elemental ratio of (Ca+Mg)/(Na+K) (1.47±0.14) and (1.44±0.28) in year 2015 and 2016 respectively, clearly demonstrates that chemical composition is mainly controlled by carbonate weathering and partly by silicate weathering. Furthermore, the low elemental ratio of (Na+K)/TZ- (0.41±0.02) and (0.22±0.05) in 2015 and 2016 respectively also suggests that carbonate weathering is a dominant geochemical process controlling meltwater chemistry of the study area. In addition the ion denudation rate was also calculated for both the years. The results shows that cation denudation rate of meltwater of Chaturangi glacier were 32.84 and 22.30 ton/km2/ablation during 2015 and 2016 respectively, whereas the anion denudation rates were 205.43 and 170.24 ton/km2/ablation in 2015 and 2016 respectively.