A Hydropedological Approach to Describing Runoff Generation, Lateral Podzolization, and Spatial and Temporal Patterns of DOC in a Headwater Catchment.
Gannon II, John Patrick
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The variations in discharge and water chemistry among and within headwater catchments are not well understood. Developing a better understanding of the processes that control these variations is crucial to determining how headwater catchments will respond to changes in climate and land use. This dissertation explores how hydrologic processes in headwater catchments may be better understood by utilizing a hydropedological framework, where similar soils are grouped together and considered to be representative of and developed by similar hydrologic and biogeochemical processes. In the first chapter, soil groups, called hydropedological units (HPUs) are found to be indicative of distinct water table regimes characterized by the interquartile range and median of shallow groundwater levels, the percent time water table exists in the soil, and the level of catchment storage at which groundwater responds. The second chapter explores the hydrological processes that may lead to the formation of HPUs in the catchment. By examining water table records and unsaturated water potential from tensiometers we found that lateral unsaturated flow regimes may be partially responsible for the patterns of lateral translocation observed in HPUs. Finally, the third chapter identifies two HPUs in the catchment as sources of streamwater dissolved organic carbon (DOC). While near-stream areas have typically been found to be DOC sources in headwater catchments, the HPUs identified as sources occur at high elevations in the catchment, near channel heads. Overall, these findings will be useful to better explain runoff generation, soil formation, and DOC export from headwater catchments. Headwater streams source water to larger bodies of water that are valuable natural resources. Therefore, explaining these processes is critical to predicting and responding to changes in climate and land use that may affect important water supplies.
- Doctoral Dissertations