Hydrogeologic controls on peatland development in the Malloryville Wetland, New York (USA)

J. P. McNamara, D. I. Siegel, P. H. Glaser, R. M. Beck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Malloryville Wetland Complex, a small kettle-hole peatland, contains a diversity of peatland types. The wetland has a 'rich' side that contains wetland vegetation associated with solute-rich, near-neutral pH (minerotrophic) water, and a 'poor' side containing vegetation that grows in solute-poor and acidic (ombrotrophic) water. Vertical head gradients at piezometer clusters located in the rich side clearly show that groundwater is moving upwards towards the land surface, consistent with the vegetation types and surface water quality. In contrast, vertical head gradients also show that groundwater is moving upward in the poor side even though the vegetation and surface water chemistry are not minerotrophic. An incipient raised bog in the center of the poor side is the only site where groundwater moves consistently downward. A peat core collected at the bog center shows that the bog site was initially covered by minerotrophic vegetation, typically found in groundwater discharge zones, which was later replaced by ombrotrophic bog vegetation. Theoretical computer simulation experiments of the bog hydrogeologic setting through time suggest that the direction of vertical groundwater flow at the bog site permanently changed from up to down when a water table mound developed under a convex-shaped fen peat mound that probably formed because of differential peat accumulation. Ombrotrophic conditions and bog vegetation probably began when the fen water table mound grew sufficiently large enough to divert the upward movement of regional groundwater. The transition from rich to poor environments probably occurred when the wetland water table was substantially below the elevation of the surrounding regional water table.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-296
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Volume140
Issue number1-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology

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