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Seasonality of diel cycles of dissolved trace-metal concentrations in a Rocky Mountain stream



Substantial diel (24-h) cycles in dissolved (0.1-μm filtration) metal concentrations were observed during summer low flow, winter low flow, and snowmelt runoff in Prickly Pear Creek, Montana. During seven diel sampling episodes lasting 34–61.5 h, dissolved Mn and Zn concentrations increased from afternoon minimum values to maximum values shortly after sunrise. Dissolved As concentrations exhibited the inverse timing. The magnitude of diel concentration increases varied in the range 17–152% for Mn and 70–500% for Zn. Diel increases of As concentrations (17–55%) were less variable. The timing of minimum and maximum values of diel streamflow cycles was inconsistent among sampling episodes and had little relation to the timing of metal concentration cycles, suggesting that geochemical rather than hydrological processes are the primary control of diel metal cycles. Diel cycles of dissolved metal concentrations should be assumed to occur at any time of year in any stream with dissolved metals and neutral to alkaline pH.



Environmental GeologySpringer Journals

Published: Mar 1, 2005

DOI: 10.1007/s00254-004-1178-x

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