Hydro-geochemical analysis of meltwater draining from Bilare Banga glacier, Western Himalaya
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The changing climate is affecting the melting process of glacier ice and snow in Himalaya and may influence the hydro-geochemistry of the glacial meltwater. This paper represents the ionic composition of discharge from Bilare Banga glacier by carrying out hydro-geochemical analysis of water samples of melting season of 2017. The pH and EC were measured on-site in field, and others parameters were examined in the laboratory. The abundance of the ions observed in meltwater has been arranged in decreasing order for cations as Ca2+ > Mg2+ > Na+ > K+ and for anions as HCO3− > SO42− > Cl− > NO3−, respectively. Analysis suggests that the meltwater is mostly dominated by Ca2+ and HCO3−. It has been observed that the ionic concentration HCO3− is dominant and Cl− is the least in the catchment. Piper plot analysis suggests that the chemical composition of the glacier discharge not only has natural origin but also has some anthropogenic input. Hydro-geochemical heterogeneity reflected the carbonate-dominated features (Ca2+–HCO3−) in the catchment. The carbonate weathering was found as the regulatory factor to control the chemistry of the glacial meltwater due to the high enrichment ratio of (Ca2+ + Mg2+) against TZ+ and (Na+ + K+). In statistical approach, PCA analysis suggests that geogenic weathering dynamics in the catchment is associated with carbonate-dominant lithology.
KeywordsBilare Banga glacier Hydro-geochemistry Cations Anions Carbonate weathering
The support of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES/PAMC/H&C/61/2015-PCII, dated March 03, 2016) through the project on Shaune Garang glacier sanctioned to Dr. Rajesh Kumar (the PI of the project) is thankfully acknowledged which has been helpful in building the glaciological human resource whose support is vital in the sampling of the meltwater as well as in the analysis. The support of USAID through a project “Contribution to High Asia Runoff from Ice and Snow” (CHARIS) under the collaboration of University of Colorado, Boulder, USA, is also acknowledged. The USAID support through CHARIS project helped not only in the research work but also in producing three PhD theses of students working under me (Dr. Rajesh Kumar). The critical review of the paper and suggestions provided by the anonymous reviewers and editor has been vital in improving the quality of the paper, and authors are grateful for the suggestions.
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