12,000

We have over 12,000 students, from over 100 countries, within one of the safest campuses in the UK

93%

93% of Lancaster students go into work or further study within six months of graduating

Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Hydrologic and geomorphic controls on hyporheic...
View graph of relations

« Back

Hydrologic and geomorphic controls on hyporheic exchange during baseflow recession in a headwater mountain stream

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

  • Adam Ward
  • Michael Fitzgerald
  • Michael Gooseff
  • Tom Voltz
  • Andrew Binley
  • Kamini Singha
???articleNumber???W04513
Journal publication date04/2012
JournalWater Resources Research
Journal number4
Volume48
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

[1] Hyporheic hydrodynamics are a control on stream ecosystems, yet we lack a thorough understanding of catchment controls on these flow paths, including valley constraint and hydraulic gradients in the valley bottom. We performed four whole-stream solute tracer injections under steady state flow conditions at the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest (Oregon, United States) and collected electrical resistivity (ER) imaging to directly quantify the 2-D spatial extent of hyporheic exchange through seasonal base flow recession. ER images provide spatially distributed information that is unavailable for stream solute transport modeling studies from monitoring wells alone. The lateral and vertical extent of the hyporheic zone was quantified using both ER images and spatial moment analysis. Results oppose the common conceptual model of hyporheic “compression” by increased lateral hydraulic gradients toward the stream. We found that the extent of the hyporheic zone increased with decreasing vertical gradients away from the stream, in contrast to expectations from conceptual models. Increasing hyporheic extent was observed with both increasing and decreasing down-valley (i.e., parallel to the valley gradient) and cross-valley (i.e., from the hillslope to the stream, perpendicular to the valley gradient) hydraulic gradients. We conclude that neither cross-valley nor down-valley hydraulic gradients are sufficient predictors of hyporheic exchange flux nor flow path network extent. Increased knowledge of the controls on hyporheic exchange, the temporal dynamics of exchange flow paths, and their the spatial distribution is the first step toward predicting hyporheic exchange at the scale of individual flow paths. Future studies need to more carefully consider interactions between spatiotemporally dynamic hydraulic gradients and subsurface architecture as controls on hyporheic exchange.

Bibliographic note

Copyright 2012 by the American Geophysical Union.