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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-460
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-460
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 24 Aug 2017

Submitted as: research article | 24 Aug 2017

Review status
A revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal HESS and is expected to appear here in due course.

Landscape and groundwater controls over boreal lake water chemistry and water balance heterogeneity in an esker complex of northeastern Ontario, Canada

Maxime P. Boreux1, Scott F. Lamoureux1, and Brian F. Cumming2,3 Maxime P. Boreux et al.
  • 1Department of Geography and Planning, Queen’s University, Kingston, K7L3N6, Canada
  • 2Department of Biology, Queen’s University, Kingston, K7L3N6, Canada
  • 3School of Environmental Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, K7L3N6, Canada

Abstract. Water chemistry and water isotopic composition were investigated in a set of 50 boreal lakes located at different elevations in an esker system near Timmins, Ontario, as well as in local streams, groundwater springs and information available from seasonal precipitation values. Analyses focused on stable isotopic ratios of hydrogen and oxygen, as well as specific conductance as indicators of the position of a lake with respect to the influence of groundwater. Both isotopic composition and specific conductance distinguished higher elevation groundwater discharge lakes from lower elevation groundwater recharge lakes. Groundwater recharge lakes characterized by enriched isotopic values and low values of specific conductance are located above the hydraulic midline elevation of the study lakes. In contrast groundwater discharge lakes, were isotopically depleted and had higher values of specific conductance, and occurred below the hydraulic midline of the study lakes. An intermediate group of lakes was also defined (termed seepage lakes) and consisted of either recharge lakes that were alkaline, or discharge lakes that had no outlet. The seepage lakes group had intermediate isotopic and water chemistry characteristics compared to recharge and discharge lakes. A classification scheme for lakes was developed based on the specific conductivity, water isotopic composition, the presence of an outlet, and other characteristic to define three types of recharge lakes, and two types of discharge lakes.

Interannual (2013 and 2014) and seasonal differences in water chemistry between (early June and August) revealed that upland groundwater recharge lakes showed evidence of evaporative drawdown, indicating sensitivity to short-term changes in climate, whereas the lower-elevation discharge showed little variation between seasonal samples, and consequently would be affected by hydroclimatological changes of greater duration and persistence.

Maxime P. Boreux et al.

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Maxime P. Boreux et al.

Maxime P. Boreux et al.

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Short summary
The investigation of groundwater-lake water interactions in a highly permeable boreal terrain using several indicators showed that lowland lakes are imbedded into the groundwater system and are thus relatively resilient to short-term hydroclimatic change while upland lakes rely more on precipitation as their main water input, making them more sensitive to evaporative drawdown. This suggest that landscape position controls the vulnerability of lake water levels to hydroclimatic change.
The investigation of groundwater-lake water interactions in a highly permeable boreal terrain...
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