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Hydrogeochemistry of seasonal variation of Urmia Salt Lake, Iran

DOI: 10.1186/1746-1448-2-9

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Abstract:

Seven hundred and four samples were taken and partially analyzed for the main cations and anions. Surface water (0.5 m. depth) was analyzed for Na, K, Mg, Ca, Br and Li, and averaged 87.118 g/lit, 1.48 g/lit, 4.82 g/lit, 4.54 g/lit, 1.19 ppm and 12.7 ppm respectively for the western half of the lake. Sodium ranged between 84 to 91.2 g/lit, and showed higher concentrations in the south than in the north. This unexpected result may be caused by shallower depth in the south and a higher net evaporation effect. Calcium ranged between 4.2 to 5 g/lit, apparently slightly higher in the north. K is higher in the south, possibly due to rivers entering from south that may carry slightly higher K in solution.In the middle-range samples (0.5–5 m.), K averaged 1.43 g/lit and ranged from 1.40 to 1.46 g/lit. At this intermediate depth the distribution of K is clearly higher to the south of the causeway that is currently under construction. It is not clear whether this increase is the effect of the causeway or the effect of the salty Aji-Chay River to the east, and the Khoy salt domes to the north of the lake. At depth (5 m–10 m), K averaged 1.48 g/lit and ranged from 1.4 to 1.49 g/lit, differing only in the second decimal from the average of the middle and surface samples.Ignoring the small difference between the averages of the three sample depths, the distribution of K is highly homogeneous in the lake water due to the mixing process. Therefore causeway construction has not yet strongly affected K distribution, or it may be at the starting point. Magnesium concentration ranged from 4.6 to 5-g/lit, and was elevated in the south. This differs somewhat compared to calcium. Lithium, with an average of 12–13 ppm, is slightly higher in the south, and has not shown any significant variation in all three seasons. Iodine was below the detection limit in the lake.Urmia Lake, geochemically, is highly uniform both to the south and north of the causeway, in both the surface and deep brines.

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