Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2020-230
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2020-230

  22 Dec 2020

22 Dec 2020

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

A first investigation of hydrogeology and hydrogeophysics of the Maqu catchment in the Yellow River source region

Mengna Li1,3, Yijian Zeng1, Maciek W. Lubczynski1, Jean Roy2, Lianyu Yu1, Hui Qian3, Zhenyu Li4, Jie Chen3, Lei Han5, Tom Veldkamp1, Jeroen M. Schoorl6, Harrie-Jan Hendricks Franssen7, Kai Hou3, Qiying Zhang3, Panpan Xu3, Fan Li4, Kai Lu4, Yulin Li4, and Zhongbo Su1 Mengna Li et al.
  • 1Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, Enschede, 7500 AE, The Netherlands
  • 2IGP, Outremont, QC H2V 4T9, Canada
  • 3School of Water and Environment, Chang'an University, Xi'an 710054, China
  • 4Institute of Geophysics and Geomatics, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, 430074, China
  • 5School of Land Engineering, Chang'an University, Xi'an 710054, China
  • 6Soil Geography and Landscape Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 47, NL-6700 AA Wageningen The Netherlands
  • 7Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Agrosphere (IBG-3), Jülich, 52425, Germany

Abstract. The Tibetan Plateau is the source of most of Asia's major rivers and has been called the Asian Water Tower. Detailed knowledge of its hydrogeology is paramount to enable the understanding of groundwater dynamics, which plays a vital role in headwater areas like the Tibetan Plateau. Nevertheless, due to its remoteness and the harsh environment, there is a lack of field survey data to investigate its hydrogeology. In this study, borehole core lithology analysis, altitude survey, soil thickness measurement, hydrogeological survey, and hydrogeophysical surveys (e.g., Magnetic Resonance Sounding – MRS, Electrical Resistivity Tomography – ERT, and Transient Electromagnetic – TEM) were conducted in the Maqu catchment within the Yellow River Source Region (YRSR). The soil thickness measurements were done in the western mountainous area of the catchment, where hydrogeophysical surveys were difficult to be carried out. The results indicate soil thicknesses are within 1.2 m in most cases, and the soil thickness decreases as the slope increases. The hydrogeological survey reveals that groundwater flows from the west to the east, recharging the Yellow River. The hydraulic conductivity ranges from 0.2 m/d to 12.4 m/d. The MRS soundings results, i.e., water content and hydraulic conductivity, confirmed the presence of unconfined aquifer in the flat eastern area. The depth of the Yellow River deposits was derived at several places in the flat eastern area based on TEM results. These survey data and results can be used to develop integrated hydrological modeling and water cycle analysis to improve a full–picture understanding of the water cycle at the Maqu catchment in the YRSR. The raw data set is freely available at https://doi.org/10.17026/dans-z6t-zpn7 (Li et al., 2020).

Mengna Li et al.

 
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Mengna Li et al.

Data sets

2018-2019 DATASET IN MAQU, THE TIBETAN PLATEAU. Li, M., Zeng, Y., Lubczynski, M. W., Su, Z., and Qian, H. https://doi.org/10.17026/dans-z6t-zpn7

Mengna Li et al.

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Short summary
The Tibetan Plateau is the source of most of Asia's major rivers and has been called the Asian Water Tower. Due to its remoteness and the harsh environment, there is a lack of field survey data to investigate its hydrogeology. Borehole core lithology analysis, altitude survey, soil thickness measurement, hydrogeological survey, and hydrogeophysical surveys were conducted in the Maqu catchment within the Yellow River Source Region (YRSR) to improve a full–picture understanding of the water cycle.