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RESEARCH ARTICLE

The estimated store of soluble salts in the Lake Eyre catchment in Queensland and their possible transport in streamflow to the lake

RH Gunn and PM Fleming

Australian Journal of Soil Research 22(2) 119 - 134
Published: 1984

Abstract

Analytical data from 145 samples of deeply weathered and unweathered rocks and 35 soil samples form the basis for a first approximation estimate of the store of soluble salts in the Lake Eyre catchment covering about 500 x 103 km2 in Queensland. A simple landscape model is defined to estimate the spatial distribution of the soluble chemical constituents of the various rocks and soils. The estimated quantities of soluble sodium and chloride in the catchment are 14x 109 and 25 x 109 tonnes respectively. Some weathered rocks also contain appreciable nitrate and ammonium ions. Available data indicate that bicarbonate, sodium and calcium are the dominant ions in stream flood flows, whereas halite and gypsum are the dominant salts in the lake. Precipitation or reconstitution of degraded clays in the suspended load may account for the absence of carbonates in the lake. It is concluded that the weathered and unweathered Cretaceous sedimentary rocks in the catchment contain large stores of soluble salts, and are the most likely sources of the bulk of the salts in the lake.

https://doi.org/10.1071/SR9840119

© CSIRO 1984


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