A forested first‐order catchment in western Amazonia was monitored for 2 years to determine the chemical fingerprints of precipitation, throughfall, overland flow, pipe flow, soil water, groundwater, and streamflow. We used five tracers (hydrogen, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and silica) to distinguish “fast” flow paths mainly influenced by the biological subsystem from “slow” flow paths in the geochemical subsystem. The former comprise throughfall, overland flow, and pipe flow and are characterized by a high potassium/silica ratio; the latter are represented by soil water and groundwater, which have a low potassium/silica ratio. Soil water and groundwater differ with respect to calcium and magnesium. The groundwater‐controlled streamflow chemistry is strongly modified by contributions from fast flow paths during precipitation events. The high potassium/silica ratio of these flow paths suggests that the storm flow response at La Cuenca is dominated by event water.
Water Resources Research – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 1995
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