Abstract by Natalie Barkdull
Impacts of glacier meltwater on water chemistry and discharge in Dinwoody Creek, Wind River Range, Wyoming, USA
Melting glaciers affect the timing and quantity of runoff and may contribute harmful trace metals to sensitive alpine watersheds. In this study, we compared trace metal concentrations in supraglacial and proglacial streams and evaluated specific conductance and discharge patterns in the Dinwoody Creek drainage (Wind River Range, Wyoming). Supraglacial meltwater, which interacts primarily with glacial ice and dust, was enriched 1.5 - 32 times in eight trace metals (Pb, Co, Mn, Cd, Hg, Tl, Th, Zn) relative to proglacial streams. These findings suggest that melting glaciers in the Wind Rivers contribute elevated heavy metal concentrations to local watersheds. We also monitored specific conductance, water height, and water temperature at 18 locations downstream of Dinwoody, Gannett, and Grasshopper glaciers over the melt season (June-September 2018). Preliminary results indicate that discharge patterns vary between non-glacial and glacial streams and help quantify the relative contributions of groundwater, glacier melt, and snowmelt. This low-cost, low-maintenance approach may help researchers understand glacier discharge patterns in remote areas.