The use of alkalinity as a conservative tracer in a study of near-surface hydrologic change in tropical karst

David G. Chandler, James J. Bisogni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Water shortages commonly increase in frequency following forest clearance on lands overlying karst in the tropics. The mechanism underlying this hydrologic change is likely to depend on the land use which follows forest cover. To determine the flow paths which prevail for a progression of land uses common to the uplands of Leyte, Philippines, samples of interflow were collected during the rainy season and titrated to determine their alkalinities. The ratio of the measured alkalinity to the value predicted by equilibrium calculations for each sample was used as an indication of the contact time of the water with the limestone. The responses of the alkalinity saturation ratio and the runoff depth to increasing rainfall depth were used to substantiate the hypothesis that epikarst infilling and changing soil structure create throttles to percolation and infiltration. The forest site was found to generate interflow primarily as pipe flow, with the infiltration and percolation throttles rarely exceeded. Similarly, infiltration was not limiting for the slash/mulch site; however, the level of soil disturbance was adequate to initiate a throttle at the epikarst which increased the volume of interflow generated. The total percolation was similar for the plowed and slash/mulch sites; however, the interflow was decreased at the plowed site by reduced infiltration at the soil surface. The throttles to surface infiltration and epikarst percolation were even greater at the pasture sites, resulting in high runoff generation. However, comparatively greater infiltration was observed in the pasture having contour-hedgerows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-182
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Volume216
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 22 1999
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Hydrology
  • Interflow
  • Karst
  • Runoff
  • Tracer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology

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