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Seasonal, weathering and water use controls of silicon cycling along the river flow in two contrasting basins of South India

Sarath, PK and Mangalaa, KR and Cardinal, D and Gurumurthy, GP and Dapoigny, A and Sarma, VVSS and Riotte, J (2022) Seasonal, weathering and water use controls of silicon cycling along the river flow in two contrasting basins of South India. In: Chemical Geology, 604 .

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2022.120883


We present the first study of river water silicon isotopic composition from two contrasting basins in South India, the east flowing Kaveri river and the west flowing Netravathi river. Both rivers originate from the Western Ghats. River water samples were collected from mainstream, tributaries and reservoirs at different locations along the river flow during dry and wet (monsoon) seasons, with an additional post-monsoon sampling in Netravathi. High rainfall in Netravathi basin and upper reaches of Kaveri induce intense weathering in the region, with superposing contribution from anthropogenic controls in downstream Kaveri. The δ30SiDSi values range from +0.42 to +1.65‰ for Netravathi river basin and + 0.32 to +2.85‰ for Kaveri river basin. Silicate weathering index (Re) shows intense weathering associated with monosiallitization (kaolinite-gibbsite formation) in Netravathi basin and relatively moderate weathering with bisiallitization (smectite-kaolinite formation) in Kaveri basin. The seasonal changes in δ30SiDSi and Re in each basin shows similar patterns, with a likely higher and heavier contribution of soil water from deeper soil profiles closer to weathering front and bedrock, associated with significant secondary mineral formation during dry season and leaching of superficial soil profiles during the high discharge periods of monsoon. We provide a theoretical framework to estimate relative contribution of silicate weathering vs. anthropogenic processes on riverine δ30SiDSi. Re is broadly correlated with δ30SiDSi and an isotopic mass balance involving the whole rock composition (excluding the stable quartz and sericite) shows that the δ30Si in river water are well explained by silicate weathering and gibbsite-kaolinite formation in the Netravathi and upper upper reaches of Kaveri. However, silicate weathering explains only partially the heavier δ30SiDSi signatures in the middle and lower reaches of the Kaveri, and the additional enrichment of about +1.06‰ can be attributed to uptake of silicon and Si-depleted return flow through irrigated agriculture in the basin. This study confirms the major control of pedoclimatic conditions on the δ30Si of rivers and provides for the first time an estimation of the impact of human activities on the silicon isotopic signature of rivers.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Chemical Geology
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to the Author(s).
Keywords: Atmospheric thermodynamics; Irrigation; Isotopes; Kaolinite; Reservoirs (water); Rivers; Soil moisture; Tropics; Water supply; Weathering, Dissolved silicon; Gibbsites; Kaveri; Netravathi; River basins; River water; Silicate weathering; Silicon isotopes; South India; Tropical rivers, Silicon, chemical weathering; isotopic composition; river flow; river water; seasonal variation; silicon, Cauvery Basin; India; Karnataka; Netravathi River; Western Ghats
Department/Centre: Division of Interdisciplinary Sciences > Interdisciplinary Centre for Water Research
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2022 05:05
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2022 05:05
URI: https://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/76586

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