Biogeochemistry of two Appalachian deciduous forest sites in relation to episodic stream acidification

David R. Dewalle, William E. Sharpe, Pamela J. Edwards

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37 Scopus citations


Bulk precipitation, throughfall, and soil water chemistry were studied from November 1983 to November 1984 at two ridge-top Appalachian deciduous forest sites to isolate causes of differing episodic stream acidification. The Fork Mountain site in West Virginia, which exhibited little episodic stream acidification, had lower deposition of H+ and SOinf4sup2- and greater reductions of H+ in the water circulating through the forest canopy, forest floor, and mineral soil than the Peavine Hill site in Pennsylvania. Greater neutralization at Fork Mountain was linked to higher Ca and Mg carbonate contents in the sandstone and shale soil parent materials. Fork Mountain had greater amounts of exchangeable bases in the organic and mineral soil horizons. Neither site appeared to be accumulating SOinf4sup2- in the soil, with Peavine Hill losing 56% more than was received in bulk deposition. Anions in soil leachate at Fork Mountain were largely balanced by Ca2+ and Mg2+, while at the Peavine Hill site A1" was the dominant cation. Results suggest that the typically-low carbonate content of sandstone and shale soil parent materials commonly found in Appalachian forests may be a key parameter controlling soil and stream acidification. Data for the one-year period also suggest bulk deposition of H+ was 63% greater at Peavine Hill than Fork Mountain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-156
Number of pages14
JournalWater, Air, and Soil Pollution
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 1988

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution


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