The pattern of changing hydro-geochemical characteristics of water in Himalayan rivers is primarily controlled by sediment load from natural sources in higher altitudes and anthropogenic sources such as the burning of fossil fuels for domestic use, vehicular emissions, and wind transported industrial pollutants in the downstream region. The assessment of water quality is critical for the comparison of natural and anthropogenic sources in the downstream areas due to the dependence of the population on the glacial meltwater for freshwater supply. In the present study, we investigate the physical and ionic characteristics of glacial meltwater from Naradu Glacier catchment concerning the dominant weathering process. The freshwater samples were collected during the ablation period of 2016 and 2017 from specified locations. The physical parameters (pH, electrical conductivity, and temperature) were measured in the field while the analyses for concentrations of major cations (Ca2+, Mg2+, K+, Na+) and major anions (Cl−, SO4 2−, HCO3 −, NO3 −) were done in the laboratory. The anions (HCO3 − > SO42− > Cl− > NO3 −) and cations (Ca2+ > Mg2+ > Na+ > K+) concentrations were observed to have similar trends for both of the ablation period. The statistical analysis shows the predominance of geological weathering processes in the catchment as the controlling factor for the variation in concentration of different ionic species. The catchment was found to be rich in rocks with carbonate mineral making the Ca2+ and HCO3 − the most dominant ions in the glacial meltwater.
Bibliographical noteThe research is a part of the research project funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India on Naradu Glacier. The support of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES/PAMC/H&C/61/2015-PCII, dated March 03, 2016) and Department of Science and Technology SB/DGH-92/2014 dated 19/12/2014 and DST/CCP/NHC/159/2018(G), dated March 28, 2019 through the research project on glacier sanctioned to Dr. Rajesh Kumar (the PI of the project) is thankfully acknowledged. Authors would also like to acknowledge the permission and support by Prof. Ravindra Kumar Sinha, Vice Chancellor, Nalanda Open University and Dr. Anupma Kumari, Environmental Biology Laboratory, Dept. of Zoology, Patna University for using their laboratory and their keen guidance during the chemical analysis of water samples.
- Carbonate weathering
- Naradu Glacier