Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Hydrologic pathways and chemical composition of runoff during snowmelt in Loch Vale Watershed, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA

September 1, 1991

Intensive sampling of a stream draining an alpine-subalpine basin revealed that depressions in pH and acid neutralizing capacity (ANC) of surface water at the beginning of the spring snowmelt in 1987 and 1988 were not accompanied by increases in strong acid anions, and that surface waters did not become acidic (ANC<0). Samples of meltwater collected at the base of the snowpack in 1987 were acidic and exhibited distinct ‘pulses’ of nitrate and sulfate. Solutions collected with lysimeters in forest soils adjacent to the stream revealed high levels of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and total Al. Peaks in concentration of DOC, Al, and nutrient species in the stream samples indicate a flush of soil solution into the surface water at the beginning of the melt. Infiltration of meltwater into soils and spatial heterogeneity in the timing of melting across the basin prevented stream and lake waters from becoming acidic.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1991
Title Hydrologic pathways and chemical composition of runoff during snowmelt in Loch Vale Watershed, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA
DOI 10.1007/BF00283175
Authors A. Scott Denning, Jill Baron, Alisa Mast, Mary Arthur
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Water, Air, & Soil Pollution
Series Number
Index ID 70125922
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization

Related Content