Journal Article

Stable isotope variability of precipitation and cave drip-water at Jumandy cave, western Amazon River basin (Ecuador)

Jiménez, A., Ampuero, A., Valencia, B.G., Mayta, V.C., Cruz, F.W., Vuille, M., Novello, V.F., Misailidis Stríkis, N., Aranda, N., Conicelli, B.,

Record Number:
5800
Year:
2022
Journal:
Journal of Hydrology
Pages:
yy
Volume:
xx
Abstract:
Monitoring studies are necessary to better understand the hydrological processes affecting the isotopic signature of cave waters, which are ultimately recorded in speleothems that are used as paleoclimate archives. This research examines changes in the isotopic composition (δ18O and δ2H) of precipitation as it infiltrates through the epikarst and into the Jumandy cave, located in the western Amazon Basin (Ecuador). Meteorological and hydrological parameters were monitored outside and inside the cave, and isotope analyses were carried out in waters from rainfall, an underground river, and drip-water at two sampling sites in the cave between April 2019 and February 2020. At monthly timescale, the rainfall weighted isotopic composition monitored at our stations was strongly correlated with the mean precipitation amount. However, when considered at weekly time-steps, the correlation is only moderate. This implies that the variation of the isotopic composition in the study area cannot be interpreted exclusively as an amount effect. Isotopic values and back-trajectory modeling show that the isotopic signature was affected by the moisture source effect associated with upstream rainout. The moisture flux is dominantly from an east to northeast direction and moisture mainly originates over the Atlantic Ocean, passing through the Amazon Basin. A significant fraction of moisture is associated with local sources within the Amazon Basin. This aspect is confirmed by d-excess values of rainfall and the Local Meteoric Water Lines (LMWLs) that indicate an influence of the high evapotranspiration rate of the Amazon region on the isotopic composition of local rainfall. The infiltrated water resides for about three weeks in the epikarst and then precipitates forming speleothems (residence time). However, this short residence time needs to be confirmed with a longer monitoring period. Despite the different magnitudes of the dripping rates, the isotopic values at the two monitored sites are similar. This suggests that the dripping discharge rate is affected by the karst structure, but the isotopic signature reflects the mixing of individual rainfall events above the cave. Therefore, ẟ18O in speleothems from these caves is mainly recording short-term precipitation changes linked to regional and large-scale atmospheric circulation.
Times Cited:
2
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