Atmospheric versus lithogenic contribution to the composition of first- and second-order stream waters in Seoul and its vicinity

Gi Tak Chae, Seong Taek Yun, Ki Hyun Kim, Pyeong Koo Lee, Byoung Young Choi

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26 Citations (Scopus)


The spatial variations in the chemistry of first- and second-order stream waters (N=65) were investigated in the easterly bound of Seoul in order to assess the effects of urban air pollution on surface water chemistry. The sulfate (SO42-) was high (range 3.9-17.8 mg l-1, mean 11.8 mg l-1) within 30 km away from the center of Seoul, compared to the levels (range 1.1-7.7 mg l-1, mean 4.3 mg l-1) observed in remote areas (30-70 km away). Both graphical examination and statistical evaluation (variogram) of sulfate concentration data consistently showed the decrease of sulfate concentration with increasing distance. The results of mass balance modeling also indicate that the concentrations of SO42-, Cl- and Na+ may be affected mainly by dry/wet deposition. However, the spatial variations of major cations such as Ca2+ and Na+ are well explained by the reaction of rainwater with diverse rocks in the watercourse. The water type was found to change from Ca(-Na)-SO4 type to Ca(-Na)-HCO3 type with the increasing distance. It is thus inferred that the pollutants like SO2 emitted from strong man-made source areas of Seoul are transported to the considerable distance (at least 30 km away) by westerlies and that such mechanism may lead to the changes of the anion composition in surface water. In the remote area (>30 km away from Seoul), the stream water chemistry appears to be influenced more effectively by the weathering of rock-forming minerals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-85
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironment international
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Mar

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant (2000-2-13100-001-3) from the Interdisciplinary Research Program of the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF). Partial support of field survey was also given by KOSEF through the Environmental Geosphere Research Laboratory (EGRL) of Korea University. We gratefully acknowledge two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments on this manuscript.


  • Atmospheric pollution
  • Hydrochemistry
  • Rock weathering
  • Seoul
  • Streams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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