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The hydrogeochemistry of the Kärkevagge Valley, Lapland, Sweden

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The Kärkejokk (jokk = Lappish for brook) is rich in sulfate and calcium, both elements having been considered enigmatic. To resolve these problems we collected waters at 13 sites during 27 June to 1 September 1996. Nine sites were in the Kärkevagge, and the others in the drainage towards lake Torne Träsk. Rain waters were collected the same period. Conductivity, pH, and temperature were measured in the field, whereas salt load and the elements Na, K, Ca, Mg, S, Si, Fe, Al, Mn, Zn, Sr, and Ba were determined in the laboratory.

Mixing models based on rain water and leaching products of the major bedrocks do not explain observed element patterns except in the lower parts of the jokk. However, oxidation of pyrite has formed acid, sulfate–rich solutions that released Ca and Mg from limestones, and Fe, Mn, Al, and Si, from black shales (Malmsten 1998; Malmsten et al. 2000). Conservative mixing models, using rain water, leached bedrock and pyrite, match the jokk waters quite well, and sulfur isotope data corroborate these findings. The nearby Låktajokk, and Vassijokk also contain much S.

Where these waters debouch they may deposit Si, Al, and Ca, but only little S on various rocks. Total rock analyses, thermodynamic and X–ray data suggest that gypsum, barite, or alunite are not formed in major quantities.

These models show that the hydrogeochemistry of the Kärkejokk may be less enigmatic than often assumed.

Keywords: forms; geomorphological processes; sub–Arctic; vegetation

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: Stockholm University, Sweden

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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