How does hillslope structure (e.g., hillslope shape and permeability variation) regulate its hydro‐geochemical functioning (flow paths, solute export, chemical weathering)? Numerical reactive transport experiments and particle tracking were used to answer this question. Results underscore the first‐order control of permeability variations (with depth) on vertical connectivity (VC), defined as the fraction of water flowing into streams from below the soil zone. Where permeability decreases sharply and VC is low, >95% of water flows through the top 6 m of the subsurface, barely interacting with reactive rock at depth. High VC also elongates mean transit times (MTTs) and weathering rates. VC however is less of an influence under arid climates where long transit times drive weathering to equilibrium. The results lead to three working hypotheses that can be further tested.
- Award ID(s):
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- DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
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- Journal Name:
- Water Resources Research
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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