Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2022-294
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2022-294
 
09 Sep 2022
09 Sep 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Soil-vegetation-water interactions controlling solute flow and transport in volcanic ash soils of the high Andes

Sebastián Páez-Bimos1,2, Armando Molina3, Marlon Calispa3,4, Pierre Delmelle4, Braulio Lahuatte5, Marcos Villacís1, Teresa Muñoz6, and Veerle Vanacker2 Sebastián Páez-Bimos et al.
  • 1Departamento de Ingeniería Civil y Ambiental, Facultad de Ingeniería Civil y Ambiental, Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Quito, 170525, Ecuador
  • 2Georges Lemaître Centre for Earth and Climate Research, Earth and Life Institute, UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348, Belgium
  • 3Programa para el Manejo de Agua y Suelo (PROMAS), Facultad de Ingeniería Civil, Universidad de Cuenca, Cuenca, 010203, Ecuador
  • 4Environmental Sciences, Earth and Life Institute, UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348, Belgium
  • 5Fondo para la Protección del Agua (FONAG), 170509, Quito, Ecuador
  • 6Empresa Pública Metropolitana de Agua Potable y Saneamiento (EPMAPS), Quito, 170519, Ecuador

Abstract. Vegetation plays a key role in the hydrological and biogeochemical cycles. It can influence soil water fluxes and transport which are critical for chemical weathering and soil development. In this study, we investigated soil water balance and solute fluxes in two soil profiles with different vegetation types (cushion-forming plants vs. tussock grasses) by measuring soil water content, flux, and solute concentrations and by modeling soil hydrology. We also analyzed the role of soil water balance in soil chemical weathering. The influence of vegetation on soil water balance and solute fluxes is restricted to the A horizon. Evapotranspiration is 1.7 times higher and deep drainage is 3 times lower under cushion-forming plants than under tussock grass. Likewise, cushions transmit almost threefold less water from the A to lower horizons. This is attributed to the vertical distribution of soil properties associated with the root systems. Under cushion-forming plants, DOC and metals (Al, Fe) are mobilized in the A horizon. Solute fluxes that can be related to plant nutrient uptake (Mg, Ca, K) decline with depth as expected from bio-cycling of plant nutrients. Dissolved silica and bicarbonate are minimally influenced by vegetation and represent the largest contributions of solute fluxes. Soil chemical weathering is higher and constant with depth below tussock grasses; while lower and declining with depth under cushion-forming plants. This difference in soil weathering is attributed mainly to the water fluxes. Our findings reveal that vegetation can modify soil properties in the uppermost horizon altering the water balance, solute fluxes, and chemical weathering throughout the soil profile.

Sebastián Páez-Bimos et al.

Status: open (until 04 Nov 2022)

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Sebastián Páez-Bimos et al.

Sebastián Páez-Bimos et al.

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This study analyses how vegetation influences soil hydrology, water fluxes and chemical weathering rates in the high Andes. There are clear differences in the A horizon. The extent of soil chemical weathering varies depending on vegetation. This difference is attributed mainly to the water fluxes. Our findings reveal that vegetation can modify soil properties in the uppermost horizon altering the water balance, solutes, and chemical weathering throughout the entire soil profile.