Are source groups always appropriate when sediment fingerprinting? The direct comparison of source and sediment samples as a methodological step

S Pulley, B Van Der Waal, A L Collins, Ian D L Foster, K Rowntree

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    The classification of sediment source groups is often the least thoroughly considered part of a sediment fingerprinting methodology; however, the use of inappropriate source groups can be the cause of significant uncertainty. In many catchments, source groups based on land use or geology are a poor fit for their geomorphological processes and the nature of the tracers used. Against this context, this study directly compared the average percentage difference in the standardised concentrations of all tracers between a sediment sample and each individual source sample, to map the similarity between the properties of sources and sediment in 3 study catchments. The environmental significance of individual tracers and their similarity between individual samples were also examined in order to identify functionally important source groups. In the River Nene, UK, the mean percentage differences between source and sediment tracer concentrations were primarily controlled by the presence of distinctive ironstone and urban sources, which had very dissimilar properties to the target sediment. However, a generally consistent trend of certain source samples having more similar properties to multiple target sediment samples than others was also found; a finding that could not be identified when using conventional source groups. In the Sywell reservoir catchment, UK, sediment originated from throughout its catchment, apart from in the case of damaged road verges, and there was little indication of any major change in sediment sources through recent time. In the Vuvu catchment, South Africa, there was a larger contribution from distal igneous sources during high‐flow events. The trialled method, however, provided little advantage over the standard fingerprinting approach in this case, due to the existing good fit between catchment geomorphology, the tracers used, and the geological source groups. The method trialled herein can provide distinct advantages over the conventional fingerprinting approach and, although it should not replace it, provides a useful supplement by permitting an assessment of whether potential source groupings make best environmental sense and providing increased resolution of sediment provenance.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalRiver Research and Applications
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2017

    Fingerprint

    sediment
    catchment
    tracer
    comparison
    ironstone
    geomorphology
    provenance
    geology
    road
    land use
    methodology
    river
    method

    Keywords

    • Geomorphological processes
    • sediment fingerprinting
    • source classification
    • uncertainty

    Cite this

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    title = "Are source groups always appropriate when sediment fingerprinting? The direct comparison of source and sediment samples as a methodological step",
    abstract = "The classification of sediment source groups is often the least thoroughly considered part of a sediment fingerprinting methodology; however, the use of inappropriate source groups can be the cause of significant uncertainty. In many catchments, source groups based on land use or geology are a poor fit for their geomorphological processes and the nature of the tracers used. Against this context, this study directly compared the average percentage difference in the standardised concentrations of all tracers between a sediment sample and each individual source sample, to map the similarity between the properties of sources and sediment in 3 study catchments. The environmental significance of individual tracers and their similarity between individual samples were also examined in order to identify functionally important source groups. In the River Nene, UK, the mean percentage differences between source and sediment tracer concentrations were primarily controlled by the presence of distinctive ironstone and urban sources, which had very dissimilar properties to the target sediment. However, a generally consistent trend of certain source samples having more similar properties to multiple target sediment samples than others was also found; a finding that could not be identified when using conventional source groups. In the Sywell reservoir catchment, UK, sediment originated from throughout its catchment, apart from in the case of damaged road verges, and there was little indication of any major change in sediment sources through recent time. In the Vuvu catchment, South Africa, there was a larger contribution from distal igneous sources during high‐flow events. The trialled method, however, provided little advantage over the standard fingerprinting approach in this case, due to the existing good fit between catchment geomorphology, the tracers used, and the geological source groups. The method trialled herein can provide distinct advantages over the conventional fingerprinting approach and, although it should not replace it, provides a useful supplement by permitting an assessment of whether potential source groupings make best environmental sense and providing increased resolution of sediment provenance.",
    keywords = "Geomorphological processes, sediment fingerprinting, source classification, uncertainty",
    author = "S Pulley and {Van Der Waal}, B and Collins, {A L} and Foster, {Ian D L} and K Rowntree",
    year = "2017",
    month = "8",
    day = "31",
    doi = "10.1002/rra.3192",
    language = "English",
    journal = "River Research and Applications",
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    }

    Are source groups always appropriate when sediment fingerprinting? The direct comparison of source and sediment samples as a methodological step. / Pulley, S; Van Der Waal, B; Collins, A L; Foster, Ian D L; Rowntree, K.

    In: River Research and Applications, 31.08.2017.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Are source groups always appropriate when sediment fingerprinting? The direct comparison of source and sediment samples as a methodological step

    AU - Pulley, S

    AU - Van Der Waal, B

    AU - Collins, A L

    AU - Foster, Ian D L

    AU - Rowntree, K

    PY - 2017/8/31

    Y1 - 2017/8/31

    N2 - The classification of sediment source groups is often the least thoroughly considered part of a sediment fingerprinting methodology; however, the use of inappropriate source groups can be the cause of significant uncertainty. In many catchments, source groups based on land use or geology are a poor fit for their geomorphological processes and the nature of the tracers used. Against this context, this study directly compared the average percentage difference in the standardised concentrations of all tracers between a sediment sample and each individual source sample, to map the similarity between the properties of sources and sediment in 3 study catchments. The environmental significance of individual tracers and their similarity between individual samples were also examined in order to identify functionally important source groups. In the River Nene, UK, the mean percentage differences between source and sediment tracer concentrations were primarily controlled by the presence of distinctive ironstone and urban sources, which had very dissimilar properties to the target sediment. However, a generally consistent trend of certain source samples having more similar properties to multiple target sediment samples than others was also found; a finding that could not be identified when using conventional source groups. In the Sywell reservoir catchment, UK, sediment originated from throughout its catchment, apart from in the case of damaged road verges, and there was little indication of any major change in sediment sources through recent time. In the Vuvu catchment, South Africa, there was a larger contribution from distal igneous sources during high‐flow events. The trialled method, however, provided little advantage over the standard fingerprinting approach in this case, due to the existing good fit between catchment geomorphology, the tracers used, and the geological source groups. The method trialled herein can provide distinct advantages over the conventional fingerprinting approach and, although it should not replace it, provides a useful supplement by permitting an assessment of whether potential source groupings make best environmental sense and providing increased resolution of sediment provenance.

    AB - The classification of sediment source groups is often the least thoroughly considered part of a sediment fingerprinting methodology; however, the use of inappropriate source groups can be the cause of significant uncertainty. In many catchments, source groups based on land use or geology are a poor fit for their geomorphological processes and the nature of the tracers used. Against this context, this study directly compared the average percentage difference in the standardised concentrations of all tracers between a sediment sample and each individual source sample, to map the similarity between the properties of sources and sediment in 3 study catchments. The environmental significance of individual tracers and their similarity between individual samples were also examined in order to identify functionally important source groups. In the River Nene, UK, the mean percentage differences between source and sediment tracer concentrations were primarily controlled by the presence of distinctive ironstone and urban sources, which had very dissimilar properties to the target sediment. However, a generally consistent trend of certain source samples having more similar properties to multiple target sediment samples than others was also found; a finding that could not be identified when using conventional source groups. In the Sywell reservoir catchment, UK, sediment originated from throughout its catchment, apart from in the case of damaged road verges, and there was little indication of any major change in sediment sources through recent time. In the Vuvu catchment, South Africa, there was a larger contribution from distal igneous sources during high‐flow events. The trialled method, however, provided little advantage over the standard fingerprinting approach in this case, due to the existing good fit between catchment geomorphology, the tracers used, and the geological source groups. The method trialled herein can provide distinct advantages over the conventional fingerprinting approach and, although it should not replace it, provides a useful supplement by permitting an assessment of whether potential source groupings make best environmental sense and providing increased resolution of sediment provenance.

    KW - Geomorphological processes

    KW - sediment fingerprinting

    KW - source classification

    KW - uncertainty

    U2 - 10.1002/rra.3192

    DO - 10.1002/rra.3192

    M3 - Article

    JO - River Research and Applications

    JF - River Research and Applications

    SN - 1535-1467

    ER -