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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2019-9
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2019-9
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Original research article 02 Apr 2019

Original research article | 02 Apr 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal SOIL (SOIL).

Spatially resolved soil solution chemistry in a central European atmospherically polluted high-elevation catchment

Daniel A. Petrash1, Frantisek Buzek1, Martin Novak1, Bohuslava Cejkova1, Pavel Kram1, Tomas Chuman1, Jan Curik1, Frantisek Veselovsky2, Marketa Stepanova1, Oldrich Myska1, Pavla Holeckova1, and Leona Bohdalkova1 Daniel A. Petrash et al.
  • 1Czech Geological Survey, Department of Environmental Geochemistry and Biogeochemistry, Geologicka 6, 152 00, Prague 5, Czech Republic
  • 2Czech Geological Survey, Department of Rock Geochemistry, Geologicka 6, 152 00, Prague 5, Czech Republic

Abstract. In order to interpret spatial patterns of soil nutrient partitioning and compare these with runoff in a temperate forest with a history of acidification-related spruce die-back, the chemistry of mineral soil solutions were collected by suction lysimeters and evaluated relative to concurrent loads of anions and cations in precipitation. Lysimeters nest were installed in the 33-ha U dvou loucek (UDL) mountain catchment at different topographic positions (hilltops, slopes and valley). Following equilibration, monthly soil solution samples were collected over a 2-year period. In the vicinity of each lysimeter nest, soil pits were excavated for constraining soil chemistry. Soil solutions were analyzed for SO42−, NO3, NH4+, Na+, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+, and total dissolved Al concentrations and organic matter (DOC), and pH. For a P release estimation, ammonium oxalate extraction of soil samples was performed. Comparison of soil water data with other previously acidified monitored European sites indicated that environmentally relevant chemical species at UDL had concentrations similar to median concentrations observed in sites with similar bedrock lithology and vegetation cover. Cation exchange capacity (CEC ≤ 58 meq kg−1) and base saturation (BS ≤ 13 %), however, were significantly lower at UDL, documenting incomplete recovery from acidification. Spatial trends and seasonality in soil water chemistry support belowground inputs from mineral-stabilized legacy pollutants. Overall, the soil-solution data suggest the system is out of balance chemically, relative to the present loads of anions and cations in precipitation. Higher concentrations of SO42−, NO3, and base cations in runoff than in soil solutions are explained by lateral surficial leaching of pollutants and nutrients from shallow soil horizons. Nearly 30 years after peak acidification, UDL exhibited similar soil solution concentrations of SO42, Ca2+ and Mg2+ as median values at the Pan-European International Co-operative Program (ICP) Forest sites, yet NO3 concentrations were an order of magnitude higher.

Daniel A. Petrash et al.
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Short summary
The chemistry of soil solutions in different areas of a small, V-shaped mountain valley affected by soil acidification and spruce die back was evaluated during two hydrological years some 30 years after peak pollution occurred in central Europe. Our results provide insights into the effects of acidification disturbances and contamination recovery and point towards the contribution of groundwater carrying legacy pollutants. These include strong anions that still promote weathering of base metals.
The chemistry of soil solutions in different areas of a small, V-shaped mountain valley affected...
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