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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-37
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 09 Feb 2018

Research article | 09 Feb 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS). The manuscript was not accepted for further review after discussion.

A major waterfall landscape maintained by fog drip water

Lucheng Zhan1,2, Jiansheng Chen3,4, Chenming Zhang5, Tao Wang3, Ling Li5, and Pei Xin1,2 Lucheng Zhan et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing, 210098, China
  • 2College of Water Conservancy and Hydropower Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing, 210098, China
  • 3Geotechnical Research Institute, College of Civil and Transportation Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing, 210098, China
  • 4College of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing, 210098, China
  • 5School of Civil Engineering, the University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia

Abstract. The Chishui forest region in the southwest of China has a unique landscape with thousands of waterfalls that produce a significant water yield even during and after a long dry period. However, the sources of water for sustaining the waterfall landscape are poorly understood. We use stable isotopes 2H and 18O to trace water in surface runoff and determine the runoff generation mechanism in the catchments. Located on the pathway of water vapor from the neighboring Sichuan Basin, the area is covered by a thick forest canopy above sandstone strata. The local conditions combine to create a microclimate that favors formation of fogs at relatively high frequencies. It was found that frequent fogs in this region act as a key water supplier for waterfalls and play an important role in the regional hydrology. During the dry period starting from October, waterfalls are mainly sustained by baseflow, 8–31% of which comes from frequent fog water recharge. The waterfall landscape in the Chishui forest represents a unique characteristic of the regional hydrological system in close connection with its geographical location, geology, climatology and ecology.

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Lucheng Zhan et al.
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Short summary
The Chishui forest region in the southwest of China has a unique landscape with thousands of waterfalls that produce a significant water yield even during and after a long dry period. Isotopic signitures show that frequent fogs in this region act as a key water supplier for waterfalls. How the area developed such a landscape would be an interesting question for future research to better understand the interactions among hydrological, geological and ecological processes.
The Chishui forest region in the southwest of China has a unique landscape with thousands of...
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