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Chemical and isotopic switching within the subglacial environment of a High Arctic glacier

Wynn, Peter M.; Hodson, Andrew; Heaton, Tim. 2006 Chemical and isotopic switching within the subglacial environment of a High Arctic glacier. Biogeochemistry, 78 (2). 173-193. 10.1007/s10533-005-3832-0

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Abstract/Summary

Natural environmental isotopes of nitrate, sulphate and inorganic carbon are discussed in conjunction with major ion chemistry of subglacial runoff from a High Arctic glacier, Midre Lovénbreen, Svalbard. The chemical composition of meltwaters is observed to switch in accordance with subglacial hydrological evolution and redox status. Changing rapidly from reducing to oxidizing conditions, subglacial waters also depict that 15N/14N values show microbial denitrification is an active component of nutrient cycling beneath the glacier. 18O/16O ratios of sulphate are used to elucidate mechanisms of biological and abiological sulphide oxidation. Concentrations of bicarbonate appear to be governed largely by the degree of rock: water contact encountered in the subglacial system, rather than the switch in redox status, although the potential for microbiological activity to influence ambient bicarbonate concentrations is recognised. Glaciers are therefore highlighted as cryospheric ecosystems supporting microbial life which directly impacts upon the release of solute through biogeochemically mediated processes.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1007/s10533-005-3832-0
Programmes: BGS Programmes > International
ISSN: 0168-2563
Format Availability: Electronic, Print
Additional Keywords: Arctic, Sweden, Isotopes, Major ion chemistry, Microbial, Redox status, Subglacial
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 06 Aug 2007 10:54
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/235

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