Geography Glacial Meltwater Study
Hydrogeochemical study on glacial meltwater of Manimahesh Glacier in Himachal Pradesh

Ujjal Deka Baruah and his research collaborators have found some interesting facts about glacier meltwater in the Manimahesh Glacier in the Himachal Pradesh region of India. The research findings of this study is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, India in the Physical Sciences Section (Section A).

Virendra Bahadur Singh1, Pritam Chand1, Milap Chand Sharma1, Ujjal Deka Baruah, Manoj Kumar1, Naveen Kumar1, and AL Ramanathan1
1 from other institutions

The hydrogeochemical study on glacial meltwater gives important information about the quality of meltwater and weathering processes controlling dissolved ions chemistry in the glacierized area. Anionic abundance in the Manimahesh Glacier meltwater shows a trend of HCO3- > SO42- > Cl- = NO3-, whereas cationic abundance in the meltwater shows a trend of Ca2+ > Mg2+ > K+ > Na+. On the basis of high equivalent ratios of (Ca + Mg) versus (Na + K) and (Ca + Mg) versus TZ+ (total cations) and low equivalent ratio of (Na + K) versus TZ+, carbonate-type weathering has been identified as a major hydrogeochemical process regulating solute chemistry of the Manimahesh Glacier meltwater followed by silicate weathering. About 80% of bicarbonate in the meltwater of investigation area was mainly generated from carbonate weathering, whereas 20% of bicarbonate was produced from silicate weathering. The result of statistical methods (correlation, principal component and cluster analysis) shows that meltwater quality of the Manimahesh Glacier is mainly governed by carbonate and silicate-type weathering, oxidation of pyrite, dissolution of sulphate minerals and atmospheric input. The average value of suspended sediment concentration (SSC) in the glacier meltwater was calculated to be 46 mg/l and 63 mg/l during the month of June and July 2014, respectively, showing higher concentration of SSC during the month of July (peak-flow period) followed by June (low-flow period).