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Benthic biolayer structure controls whole-stream reactive transport
  • Kevin Roche,
  • Marco Dentz
Kevin Roche
Boise State University, Boise State University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Marco Dentz
Spanish National Research Council (IDAEA-CSIC), Spanish National Research Council (IDAEA-CSIC)
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Hyporheic zone reaction rates are highest just below the sediment-water interface, in a shallow region called the benthic biolayer. Vertical variability of hyporheic reaction rates leads to unexpected reaction kinetics for stream-borne solutes, compared to classical model predictions. We show that deeper, low-reactivity locations within the hyporheic zone retain solutes for extended periods, which delays reactions and causes solutes to persist at higher concentrations in the stream reach than would be predicted by classical approaches. These behaviors are captured by an upscaled model that reveals the fundamental physical and chemical processes in the hyporheic zone. We show how time scales of transport and reaction within the biolayer control solute retention and transformation at the stream scale, and we demonstrate that accurate assessment of stream-scale reactivity requires methods that integrate over all travel times.
16 Mar 2022Published in Geophysical Research Letters volume 49 issue 5. 10.1029/2021GL096803