Water level and chemistry of Lake Qinghai are sensitive to climate changes and are important for paleoclimatic implications. An accurate understanding of hydrological and chemical budgets is crucial for quantifying geochemical proxies and carbon cycle. Published results of water budget are firstly reviewed in this paper. Chemical budget and residence time of major dissolved constituents in the lake are estimated using reliable water budget and newly obtained data for seasonal water chemistry. The results indicate that carbonate weathering is the most important riverine process, resulting in dominance of Ca2+ and DIC for river waters and groundwater. Groundwater contribution to major dissolved constituents is relatively small (4.2 ± 0.5%). Wet atmospheric deposition contributes annually 7.4-44.0% soluble flux to the lake, resulting from eolian dust throughout the seasons. Estimates of chemical budget further suggest that (1) the Buha-type water dominates the chemical components of the lake water, (2) Na+, Cl-, Mg2+, and K+ in lake water are enriched owing to their conservative behaviors, and (3) precipitation of authigenic carbonates (low-Mg calcite, aragonite, and dolomite) transits quickly dissolved Ca2+ into the bottom sediments of the lake, resulting in very low Ca2+ in the lake water. Therefore, authigenic carbonates in the sediments hold potential information on the relative contribution of different solute inputs to the lake and the lake chemistry in the past.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth-Surface Processes