Rapid groundwater recharge dynamics determined from hydrogeochemical and isotope data in a small permafrost watershed near Umiujaq (Nunavik, Canada)

Cochand M, Molson J, Barth J, van Geldern R, Lemieux JM, Fortier R, Therrien R (2020)


Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2020

Journal

DOI: 10.1007/s10040-020-02109-x

Abstract

Hydrogeochemical data are used to better understand recharge dynamics and to support a hydrogeological conceptual model in a 2-km2 watershed in a discontinuous permafrost zone in Nunavik, Canada. The watershed contains an upper (surficial) and lower aquifer within Quaternary deposits, above and below a marine silt layer containing ice-rich permafrost mounds. The analysis is based on water samples from precipitation, groundwater monitoring wells, ground ice in permafrost mounds, thermokarst lakes and a perennial stream. Groundwater geochemistry in both aquifers reflects young, poorly evolved waters, with mainly Ca-HCO3 water types and low mineralisation ranging from 11 to 158 mg/L total dissolved solids (TDS), implying short pathways and rapid travel times of a year or less. While relatively low, TDS signatures in groundwater and surface water show increasing values downgradient. Groundwater isotope values (δ18OH2O and δ2HH2O) are often strongly influenced by snowmelt, while those of thermokarst lakes show evidence of evaporation. Recharge along the cuesta contributes to a transverse component of groundwater flow within the valley with higher TDS and δ13CDIC values influenced by open-system weathering. Even where permafrost-free, the marine silt unit has a strong confining effect and plays a more important role on recharge dynamics than the discontinuous permafrost. Nevertheless, the vulnerability of these types of hydrogeological aquifer systems is expected to increase due to rapid recharge dynamics associated with the gradual loss of the confining effect of permafrost. This hydrogeochemical data set will be useful as a baseline to document impacts of permafrost degradation on the hydrogeological system.

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APA:

Cochand, M., Molson, J., Barth, J., van Geldern, R., Lemieux, J.-M., Fortier, R., & Therrien, R. (2020). Rapid groundwater recharge dynamics determined from hydrogeochemical and isotope data in a small permafrost watershed near Umiujaq (Nunavik, Canada). Hydrogeology Journal. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10040-020-02109-x

MLA:

Cochand, M., et al. "Rapid groundwater recharge dynamics determined from hydrogeochemical and isotope data in a small permafrost watershed near Umiujaq (Nunavik, Canada)." Hydrogeology Journal (2020).

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