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Diel stream geochemistry, Taylor Valley, Antarctica


Sarah K. Fortner: Byrd Polar Research Center, The Ohio State University, 1090 Carmack Road, Columbus, OH 43210, USA. E-mail:


Unlike temperate and polythermal proglacial streams, the proglacial streams in Taylor Valley (TV), Antarctica, are derived primarily from glacier surface melt with no subglacial or groundwater additions. Solute responses to flow reflect only the interaction of glacial meltwater with the valley floor surrounding the stream channel. We have investigated the major, minor and trace element 24-h variations of two proglacial melt streams, Andersen Creek and Canada Stream, originating from the Canada Glacier in TV, Antarctica. Both streams exhibited diel mid-austral summer diurnal flow variation, with maximum flow being more than 50 times the minimum flow. Dissolved (< 0.4 µm) major, minor and trace solute behaviors through diel periods were strongly controlled by the availability of readily solubilized material on the valley floor and hyporheic-biological exchanges. Anderson Creek had generally greater solute concentrations than Canada Stream because of its greater receipt of eolian sediment. Andersen Creek also acquired greater solute concentrations in the rising limb of the hydrograph than the falling limb because of dissolution of eolian material at the surface of the stream channel coupled with minimal hyporheic-biological exchange. Conversely, Canada Stream had less available eolian sediment, but a greater hyporheic-biological exchange, which preferentially removed trace and major solutes in the rising limb and released them in the falling limb. Given the dynamic nature of discharge, eolian, and hyporheic-biological processes, solute loads in TV streams are difficult to predict. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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