Geochemical and microbiological features of cryoconite, sampled from glaciers of the Central Caucasus region (Kabardino-Balkarian republic, Russia)

Evgeny Abakumov, Vyacheslav Polyakov, Ivan Kushnov, Rustam Tembotov

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Abstract

Determination of geochemical and microbiological properties of the cryoconite, related types
of sediments and periglacial soils is essential to investigate impact of glaciers on terrains development at
the Central Caucasus region. The studied sediments were sampled at the Garabashi and Skhelda glaciers as
well as in vertical sections of local soils at the Baksan gorge. Sampled materials were investigated in terms
of physicochemical parameters and nutritional state. The trace elements concentrations (Cu, Pb, Zn, Ni,
Cd) were also evaluated in samples selected. The data obtained shows much higher content of organic
carbon in soils (up to 7.82%) in comparison with cryoconite (max. 1.63%) due to the effect of superficial
vegetation cover, however, rates of microbial activity were similar between some samples of sediments
and soils. The analysis of the particle size distribution shows a similarity of the studied materials: in
almost all samples, there is a dominance of the sand fraction. Cryoconite sediments on both of the abovementioned glaciers are found as enriched with phosphorus, essential values of potassium (298 mg/kg in
K2O units) and ammonium nitrogen (N-NH4 - max. 247 mg*kg) are identified at Garabashi glacier which
could be a result of long-distant transfer and anthropogenic activity. The highest content among trace
elements was identified for Zn (62 mg*kg for cryoconite and 60.5 mg*kg for soils), the most contaminated
materials were sediments from Garabashi glacier and Entisols, up to moderate level, which is mostly
associated with anthropogenic activity. Thus, development of tourism in the Central Caucasus, which is
mostly associated with construction and transport, affects the pollution status of supraglacial sediments
and periglacial soils as well as their agrochemical and microbiological features.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMOUNTAIN ECOSYSTEMS AND THEIR COMPONENTS 2021
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2021
EventMOUNTAIN ECOSYSTEMS AND THEIR COMPONENTS: VIII All-Russian Conference with International Participation - Nalchik, Russian Federation
Duration: 20 Sep 200125 Sep 2021

Publication series

NameBIO Web of Conferences
Volume35

Conference

ConferenceMOUNTAIN ECOSYSTEMS AND THEIR COMPONENTS
Country/TerritoryRussian Federation
CityNalchik
Period20/09/0125/09/21

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