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Water 2016, 8(7), 286; doi:10.3390/w8070286

Isotopic Characterization of River Waters and Water Source Identification in an Inland River, Central Asia

1
Key Laboratory of Tree-Ring Physical and Chemical Research of China Meteorological Administration/Xinjiang Laboratory of Tree Ring Ecology, Institute of Desert Meteorology, China Meteorological Administration, Urumqi 830002, China
2
State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, CAS, Urumqi 830011, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Y. Jun Xu
Received: 11 March 2016 / Revised: 28 June 2016 / Accepted: 7 July 2016 / Published: 12 July 2016
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Abstract

Understanding runoff generation and dynamics is the basis for water resource management, while water isotopic ratios are a potential tool for studying the mechanism on a large scale. In this paper, spatial variations of δ18O and δD of river water and their sources within a large region of the Tarim River were investigated. The results showed obvious spatial variations of both water isotope values along the river flow direction, and significant seasonal variation occurred within the river water isotopes. This indicated that different proportions of rain and melt water entering river water should lead to spatial variation, and for mid-stream and downstream regions, the transformation relationship between surface water and groundwater should consider less input of melt water. Furthermore, we quantitatively determine the ratio of different water sources using the stable isotope mass balance method and other stable tracer elements. Results showed the contribution of ice-snowmelt water varied from 14.97% to 40.85%, that of rain varied from 9.04% to 54.80%, and that of groundwater varied from 15.34% to 58.85%, and they also showed that baseflow is a factor connecting melt water and groundwater, which meant the Hotan River and the Yarkand River are melt water–dependent rivers, and seasonal precipitation is the main water supply source of baseflow in the Aksu River and the Kaidu River. View Full-Text
Keywords: inland river; stable isotopes; hydrograph separation; arid catchments hydrology inland river; stable isotopes; hydrograph separation; arid catchments hydrology
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Fan, Y.; Chen, Y.; He, Q.; Li, W.; Wang, Y. Isotopic Characterization of River Waters and Water Source Identification in an Inland River, Central Asia. Water 2016, 8, 286.

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