Hydrochemical and geophysical data collected during a hydrological survey in September 2017, reveal patterns of small-scale hydrological connectivity in a small water track catchment in the north-European Arctic. The stable isotopic composition of water in different compartments was used as a tracer of hydrological processes and connectivity at the water track catchment scale. Elevated tundra patches underlain by sandy loams were disconnected from the stream and stored precipitation water from previous months in saturated soil horizons with low hydraulic conductivity. At the catchment surface and in the water track thalweg, some circular hollows, from 0.2 to 0.4 m in diameter, acted as evaporative basins with low deuterium excess (d
-excess) values, from 2‰ to 4‰. Observed evaporative loss suggests that these hollows were disconnected from the surface and shallow subsurface runoff. Other hollows were connected to shallow subsurface runoff, yielding d
-excess values between 12‰ and 14‰, close to summer precipitation. ‘Connected’ hollows yielded a 50% higher dissolved organic carbon (DOC) content, 17.5 ± 5.3 mg/L, than the ‘disconnected’ hollows, 11.8 ± 1.7 mg/L. Permafrost distribution across the landscape is continuous but highly variable. Open taliks exist under fens and hummocky depressions, as revealed by electric resistivity tomography surveys. Isotopic evidence supports upward subpermafrost groundwater migration through open taliks under water tracks and fens/bogs/depressions and its supply to streams via shallow subsurface compartment. Temporal variability of isotopic composition and DOC in water track and a major river system, the Vorkuta River, evidence the widespread occurrence of the described processes in the large river basin. Water tracks effectively drain the tundra terrain and maintain xeric vegetation over the elevated intertrack tundra patches.
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