Hydro-Chemical Characterization of Glacial Melt Waters Draining from Langtang Valley, Nepal


A detailed analytical study of the physico-chemical parameters of melt water draining from glaciers of Langtang Valley with an elevation ranging from 1395 m a s l to 4200 m a s l in Rasuwa district, Nepal was carried out in order to study the seasonal and altitudinal variation in hydro-chemistry along the Langtang River and glacial melts from the Lirung and the Khimsung Glaciers. The study was carried out during 6 - 10 April and 30 June-3 July, 2014 at 11 sites. A total of 22 composite samples were collected. The concentration of cations and anions of the Langtang Valley were found in the order Ca2+ > K+ > Na+ > Mg2+ and , respectively. Significant seasonal variation in electrical conductivity (EC), turbidity, dissolved oxygen (DO), calcium (Ca), sodium (Na), magnesium (Mg), chloride (Cl), sulphate (SO4) and total phosphorus (TP-PO4) and altitudinal variation in EC, total dissolved solids (TDS), DO and Na was found out. The concentrations of the heavy metals (As, Al, Mn, Zn, Cd, Cr) were below the detection limit except Fe (0.5 to 18.1 mg/l), which was highly variable. Calcium carbonate weathering was found out to be the major source of dissolved ions in the region. The elemental ratios (Ca/Si and K/Na) were typical of glacial melt water and the low Na/Cl and K/Cl ratios indicated major contribution from atmospheric precipitation to the observed dissolved ions of melt waters. The study showed an increase in the concentration of cations as compared to previous studies, which could be attributed to increasing weathering rates due to temperature increase. Elevated concentration of NO3 and TP-PO4 compared to previous studies show the effect of human impact in the region. Differences in the melt water composition between the debris covered and clean type glacier was found out.

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Tuladhar, A. , Kayastha, R. , Gurung, S. and Shrestha, A. (2015) Hydro-Chemical Characterization of Glacial Melt Waters Draining from Langtang Valley, Nepal. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 7, 605-613. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2015.78049.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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