Lake water, river water, and groundwater from the Lake Qinghai catchment in the northeastern Tibetan Plateau, China have been analyzed and the results demonstrate that the chemical components and 87Sr/86Sr ratios of the waters are strictly constrained by the age and rock types of the tributaries, especially for groundwater. Dissolved ions in the Lake Qinghai catchment are derived from carbonate weathering and part from silicate sources. The chemistry of Buha River water, the largest tributary within the catchment, underlain by the late Paleozoic marine limestone and sandstones, constrains carbonate-dominated compositions of the lake water, being buffered by the waters from the other tributaries and probably by groundwater. The variation of 87Sr/86Sr ratios with cation concentrations places constraint on the Sr-isotopic compositions of the main subcatchments surrounding Lake Qinghai. The relative significance of river-water sources from different tributaries (possibly groundwater as well) in controlling the Sr distribution in Lake Qinghai provides the potential to link the influence of hydrological processes to past biological and physical parameters in the lake. The potential role of groundwater input in the water budget and chemistry of the lake emphasizes the need to further understand hydrogeological processes within the Lake Qinghai system.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Water Science and Technology
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)