Sulfate concentration and pH were determined in surface water, groundwater, and precipitation samples collected in the Filson Creek watershed to evaluate the sources of sulfate in Filson Creek. During and immediately after snowmelt, sulfate concentrations in Filson Creek increased from about 2 to 14 mg/l. Concurrently, H+ ion activity increased from an average of 10−6.6 to 10−5.5. These changes suggest that sulfate acidity is concentrated in the snowpack at snowmelt, which is similar to changes reported in Scandinavia in areas subject to acid precipitation. Mass balance calculations indicate that the sulfate contribution from groundwater during snowmelt was minimal in comparison to that from snow. During base flow, sulfate did not appreciably increase from the headwaters of Filson Creek to the mouth, even though sulfate was as high as 58 mg/l in groundwater discharging to the creek from surficial materials overlying a sulfide‐bearing mineralized zone in the lower third of the watershed. Approximately 10.6 kg of sulfate per hectare per year was retained in 1977. This paper is not subject to U.S. copyright. Published in 1981 by the American Geophysical Union.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Water Science and Technology