Hydrologic cycling of mercury and organic carbon in a forested upland-bog watershed

R. K. Kolka, D. F. Grigal, E. A. Nater, E. S. Verry

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50 Scopus citations


The hydrologic cycling of total Hg (HgT) and organic C (OC) was studied for a 1-yr period in a northern Minnesota forested watershed, consisting of an upland surrounding a bog peatland with a narrow lagg at their interface. Throughfall and stemflow contributed twice as much HgT and seven times as much OC to the forested watershed than atmospheric deposition in a nearby opening. Fluxes in upland runoff accounted for 16% of the HgT and 8% of the OC inputs to the lagg and were dominated by interflow transport. Bog runoff accounted for 57% of the HgT and 83% of the OC inputs to the lagg. For an annual cycle, upland soils were sinks for both HgT and OC, while bog soils were sinks for HgT but sources of OC. Fluxes to the lagg accounted for 184% of the HgT and 87% of the OC transported from the watershed outlet. We speculate that HgT was lost in the lagg by both volatilization and soil accumulation. Total Hg and dissolved organic C (DOC) are positively related in both throughfall and stemflow, with stemflow showing the strongest relationships. In the soil system, HgT-DOC relationships deteriorate and HgT-particulate organic C (POC) relationships dominate. Water residence time in contact with OC appears to be important in determining the relationships between HgT and OC. At the stream outlet, our data suggest that ≈70% of the HgT transported from the watershed is associated with POC, while 30% is associated with DOC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)897-905
Number of pages9
JournalSoil Science Society of America Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001

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