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Chemical Characterization of Meltwater from East Rathong Glacier Vis-à-Vis Western Himalayan Glaciers

Sharma Brij M, Tayal Shresth, Chakraborty Parthasarathi, Bharat Girija K , 2014

In: Joshi R, Kumar K, Palni Lok Man S (eds.), Dynamics of Climate Change and Water Resources of Northwestern Himalaya Society of Earth Scientists Series 2015 :181-190p.

Abstract

Ice and meltwater samples from Rathong glacier and its pro-glacial stream Rathong chu, were collected during late winter season. Samples were analyzed to study the chemical composition , weathering, and geochemical processes in ice and meltwater at high altitudes. This study elucidate the variation of major cations (Li+, Mg2+, NH4 +, K+, Na+, Ca2+) and major anions (PO4 3?, F?, NO2 ?, Cl?, SO4 2?, NO3 ?) with respect to ionic concentration reported for glaciers in western Himalaya High correlation between Ca2+ and Mg2+, the contribution of (Ca2+ + Mg2+) to the total cations and high value of [(Ca2+ + Mg2+)/(Na+ + K+)] ratio suggests that the major source of dissolved ions in the meltwater is carbonate weathering. Enrichment of samples with NO3 ? and NH4 + suggests that scavenging of HNO3 present in the atmosphere is a major contributor for these ions. High average value of Na+/Cl? and K+/Cl? ratio suggest that marine aerosols are not the only contributor to ionic composition. R-mode factor analysis was performed to understand the contribution of geochemical weathering and atmosphere in accumulating major cations and anions in ice and meltwater, which suggests that a majority of ions were from chemical weathering and post-depositional sources.?

Keyword(s)

Meltwater; East Rathong Glacier; Western Himalayan Glaciers