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Journal of Arid Land  2014, Vol. 6 Issue (4): 378-388    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0249-9
Research Articles     
Groundwater hydrochemistry and isotope geochemistry in the Turpan Basin, northwestern China
Lu CHEN1*, GuangCai WANG1, FuSheng HU1, YaJun WANG1, Liang LIU2
1 School of Water Resources and Environment, China University of Geosciences, Beijing 100083, China;
2 The First Brigade of Hydrogeology, Xinjiang Bureau of Geology and Minerals, Urumqi 830002, China
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Abstract  The Turpan Basin is located in the arid zone of northwestern China and is a typical closed inland basin surrounded by high mountains. It is one of the most arid regions in the world and, as a result, the groundwater in this area is very important for both domestic and agricultural uses. In the present study, the relationships of major elements (K+, Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+, HCO3−, SO42− and Cl) and environmental isotopes (δ18O, δ2H and T) in groundwater were analyzed to investigate the evolution of the regional hydrochemistry within the Turpan Basin. The hydrochemistry results demonstrate that groundwater with high total dissolved solids (TDS) concentration is dominated by sodium chloride (Na-Cl) and sodium sulfate (Na-SO4) type water, whereas that with low TDS concentration (typically from near mountain areas) is dominated by calcium bicarbonate (Ca-HCO3) type water. The evolution of groundwater hydrochemistry within the Turpan Basin is a result of calcium carbonate precipitation, evaporation concentration, cation exchange and dissolution of evaporites (i.e. halite, mirabilite and gypsum). Furthermore, evaporite dissolution associated with irrigation practice plays a key role in the groundwater salinization, especially in the central part of the basin. Environmental isotopes reveal that the groundwater is recharged by precipitation in the mountain areas and fast vertical infiltration of irrigation return flow. In the southern sub-basin the shallow groundwater and the deep groundwater is separated at a depth of about 40 m, with substantial differences in terms of hydrochemical and isotopic characteristics. The results are useful for decision making related to sustainable water resource utilization in the Turpan Basin and other regions in northwestern China.

Key wordssnow depth      soil water content      N addition      ephemeral plant      plant density      species richness     
Received: 25 March 2013      Published: 12 August 2014

This work was funded by Coal Base Groundwater Exploration (Eastern Xinjiang) under the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region 358 Project.

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Cite this article:

Lu CHEN, GuangCai WANG, FuSheng HU, YaJun WANG, Liang LIU. Groundwater hydrochemistry and isotope geochemistry in the Turpan Basin, northwestern China. Journal of Arid Land, 2014, 6(4): 378-388.

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