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Local recharge processes in glacial and alluvial deposits of a temperate catchment

Lookup NU author(s): Federico FragalĂ , Dr Geoffrey ParkinORCiD


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This study demonstrates that the composition and structure of Quaternary deposits and topography significantly influence rates of recharge and distribution of diffuse agricultural pollution at the hillslope scale. Analyses were made of vertical profiles of naturally-occurring chloride and nitrate, and artificially introduced bromide, in unsaturated and saturated sections of borehole cores of glacial till and alluvium under different land uses in the Upper Eden valley (UK). Estimates of local potential recharge were made based on chloride mass balance and nitrate peak methods. Persistent chloride bulges below the root zone were observed, and are interpreted to result from filtration processes at lithological boundaries. Changes in the shape of chloride profiles downslope, corroborated by nitrate profiles, indicate the roles of surface or near-surface runoff and runon, and the existence of lateral subsurface flows at depth. These findings have implications for estimation of recharge rates through unsaturated zones in Quaternary deposits, and the interpretation of potential 'hot-spots' of diffuse agrochemicals, particularly nitrates, moving through Quaternary deposits into groundwater. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Fragala FA, Parkin G

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Hydrology

Year: 2010

Volume: 389

Issue: 1-2

Pages: 90-100

Print publication date: 01/07/2010

ISSN (print): 0022-1694

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2010.05.025


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