Surface Water Composition of Kamchatka, Russia

V. A. Chudaeva Pacific Institute of Geography, Vladivostok, 690041, Radio, 7, Russia


T. N. Lutsenko Pacific Institute of Geography, Vladivostok, 690041, Radio, 7, Russia

Kamchatka - a unique peninsula of the russian Far East where more than 20 volcanoes are located. Kamchatka has an enormous area without inhabitants and a relatively small polluted territory. This allows to suppose that differences in migration and discharge of several chemical components are close to natural. There are a long time with temperatures below OƒC. Predominance of tuffs on the territory provides favorable conditions for the infiltration of melting snow and rain water in underground acquifers. They supply rivers during the year up to 50-60% from total river water discharge. River waters are not mineralized due to the abundance of snow and rains which have washed off soil from dissolved matters.

Using numerous data of the Hydrological Survey for several rivers of the Kamchatka we calculated the discharge of chemical components. If data were absent we used values recorded in adjacent areas. Samples for heavy metals study were obtained in field trip. Suspension separation was done by membrane filtration with 0.45 micron filters. Heavy metals were determined by atomic absorption spectrofotometry after decomposition of suspensions with strong acids.

In the territory where some influence of volcanic or hydrothermal activity is absent the composition of surface waters is calcium-hydrocarbonate with mineralization less than 100 mg/l. In the southern part of the peninsula where this influence takes place, N++K+, SO4--, CI- rise in ion composition. The discharge of dissolved matters from the Kamchatka is not smooth. Maximum dissolved matter discharge is connected with the southern part of the peninsular. For the Okhotsk Sea and the Pacific Ocean there are different values of river dissolved matters inputs. But the main discharge of dissolved matters from the Kamchatka peninsular is connected with the biggest river named the same (Kamchatka River).

A study of some heavy metal concentrations are not too high. It was the first detailed study of metals in the Kamchatka peninsula rivers. Dissolved Fe concentrations (Fediss) change from 1.3 to 50 mg/l 10-3 with the minimum concentration in rivers with higher alkalinity of water resulting from hydrothermal influence (Paratunka, Paugetka rivers). Fe in suspended material (Fesusp) is as a rule 30 - 60 x 103 ppm (in dry matter), which composed 0.6 - 5 mg/l in the water column.

Mndiss concentrations are rather low in the rivers (n x 10-3 - n x 10-2 mg/l). This is connected with the alkalinity of waters - as a rule more than 7. The concentrations in suspensions are 660 - 1600 ppm. Like Fe the most part of manganese is in the solid matter of the rivers (60 - 99% of total Mn).

Zndiss is n x 10-3 - n x 10-2 mg/l with the biggest concentrations in rivers where hydrothermal water influence takes place. Ssusp changes as n x 101 - n x 102 ppm. So in the river water Zn migrates opposite to Fe and Mn as dissolved component.

Cudiss in the rivers of Kamchatka was n x 10-3 mg/l. Its concentrations don't reflect any hydrothermal influence because copper is closely connected with organic matter. In Kamchatka rivers 30 - 40% Cudiss is connected with organic matters. Cususp is n x 101ppm for dry matters and n x 10-3 - n x 10-4 mg/l in the water column. So dissolved and suspended parts take place in Cu migrations in the river water but sometimes the dissolved part is up to 80 - 90%, sometimes the suspended part reaches 60 - 70 of Cu migration in the river water.

For dissolved metals it was found by used methods only four elements which concentrations rise as Mn>Cu>Fe, Mn. A big part of dissolved Fe and Cu is an organic complex. For Zn and Mn it is not important.

Some other metals were studied only in suspended matter. Concentrations of metals in suspended solids which consist up to 40-50% from silt (<0.01 mm fraction) are rather varied and increase in line Fe<Mn<Zn, Cu<Ni, Pb<Cd. Concentrations of Cu, Zn, Pb, Ni, Cd often are less than in Primorye (the Japan Sea catchment) rivers.

The most part of suspended metals is transported as a mobile form (absorbed on clays and hydroxides or complicated with organic) and may be returned in solution if conditions will be favorable.

The Kamchatka River flows through the central part of the peninsula and collects water, salts and sediments from the enormous area. This river has a higher concentration of suspensions for it drains big areas of loose volcanic sediments. Part of suspensions in total metal transportation here is the highest for the peninsula. Dissolved concentrations and composition of suspensions change from the upper part to the mouth of the river after inputs of many tributaries, particularly those flowing from volcanic areas.