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Hydrogeological conditions of the Quaternary aquifer

Qaidam Basin is a typical arid inland basin. The groundwater mainly occurs in Quaternary aquifer. The material of the Quaternary aquifer changes from a single, thick gravel deposition at the mountain regions to multi-layered alluvial and lacustrine deposition in the center of the basin. The hydraulic properties of groundwater are unconfined in mountainous areas, and gradually evolved into multi-layered confined water in alluvial lacustrine plain.

Groundwater systems of the Quaternary aquifer

The NS hydrogeologic profile in the Qaidam Basin

Solute transport and evolution of groundwater system

From the piedmont to the center of the basin, it can be divided into four groundwater flow systems. They are the local foreland groundwater flow system  (), the regional groundwater flow system (), the stagnant groundwater flow system () and the changeable local groundwater flow system () in alluvial plains, where the stagnant groundwater flow system can be divided into shallow stagnant groundwater flow system ( -1) and deep stagnant groundwater flow system ( -2), as well as three salt migration zones those are leached zone(A), transfer band (B) and accumulation zone (C). The groundwater changes from freshwater to brackish water, salt water and brine.


The mode of groundwater formation and evolution in the Qaidam Basin
(From LI wenpeng and Hao aibing)


Groundwater circulation update of typical river basin

The main recharge of the Quaternary aquifer in the basin is the river seepage in the alluvial-pluvial fan zones, and the main discharge is base flow and evaporation. From the Piedmont to the center of basin, groundwater circulation can be divided into two cycles with shallow and deep. The groundwater has the characteristic of positive alternating and fast updating in shallow circulation zone, as well as stagnant flowing and slow updating in deep cycle zone. 

Nalingguole River BasinThe depth of local system is less than 300m, and the circulation rate accounts for 97-98% of the total. The depth of regional systems is from 300 m to 500 m, and the circulation rate accounts for 2-3% of the total.


Longitudinal profile of the Nalingguole River Basin

Qaidam River BasinThe depth of local systems is less than 200m, the circulation rate accounts for 98% of the total, and the replenish rate is about 1.7%a-1. The depth of regional systems is from 200m to 500m, the circulation rate accounts for 2% of the total, and the replenish rate is about 0.03%a-1.


Longitudinal profile of the Qaidam River Basin

Ge'ermu River BasinThe depth of local systems is less than 200m, and the circulation rate accounts for 97-98% of the total. The depth of regional systems is from 200m to 500m, and the circulation rate accounts for 2-3% of the total.


Longitudinal profile of the Ge'ermu River Basin


Schematic map of groundwater dynamic in the Ge'ermu River Basin


Groundwater age in the Ge'ermu River Basin




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