Physical Geography

Recharge sources and chemical composition types of groundwater and lake in the Badain Jaran Desert, northwestern China

  • 1. College of Tourism and Environment Science, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an 710062, China;
    2. Key Laboratory of Disaster Monitoring and Mechanism Simulating of Shaanxi Province, Baoji University of Arts and Sciences, Baoji 721007, Shaanxi, China;
    3. Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, CAS, Lanzhou 730000, China
Shao Tianjie (1982-), Ph.D Candidate, specialized in regional environment in arid regions. E-mail:

Received date: 2011-07-24

  Revised date: 2011-09-15

  Online published: 2012-05-04

Supported by

Yangtze River Scholar Bonus Schemes of China, No.801813; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40672108


Based on the analysis of ion chemical composition of lake water and shallow groundwater in the Badain Jaran Desert, this paper discussed the characteristics of ion chemical composition, spatial variation of lake water, and possible supply sources of lake water and groundwater in the desert areas. The results show that the pH, salinity, TDS and electrical conductivity of the lake water are greater than those of groundwater. The ion contents of water samples are dominated by Na+ and Cl-. Most of the higher salinity lakes are Na (K)-Cl-(SO4) type, and a few of low salinity lakes belong to the Na-(Mg)-(Ca)-Cl-(SO4)-(HCO3) type. Most of the groundwater is Na-(Ca)-(Mg)-Cl-(SO4)-(HCO3) type, attributed to subsaline lake, and only a few present the Na-Cl-SO4 type, flowing under saline lake. The pH, salinity, TDS and electrical conductivity in the southeastern lakes are relatively low, and there are slightly alkaline lakes. The pH, salinity, TDS and electrical conductivity in the northern lakes are much greater than those of the southeastern lakes, and the northern lakes are moderately alkaline and saline ones. In the southeastern part of the Badain Jaran Desert, the ion chemical characteristics of the lake water from south to north show a changing trend of subsaline →saline→hypersaline. The changing trend of chemical compositions of ions in recent 9 years indicates that most of the ion contents have a shade of reduction in Boritaolegai, Badain, Nuoertu and Huhejilin lakes, which state clearly that the amount of fresh water supply is increasing in the 9-year period. The ion chemical composition of the lake water reveals that the flow direction of lake water is from southeast to northwest in the Badain Jaran Desert. The ion chemical composition, moisture content of sand layer water level height and hierarchical cluster analysis of the lake water and groundwater demonstrate that the lake water is mainly supplied by local rainfall and infiltration of precipitation in Yabulai Mountains and Heishantou Mountain, and the supply from the Qilian Mountains is almost impossible.

Cite this article

SHAO Tianjie, ZHAO Jingbo, ZHOU Qi, DONG Zhibao, MA Yandong . Recharge sources and chemical composition types of groundwater and lake in the Badain Jaran Desert, northwestern China[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2012 , 22(3) : 479 -496 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-012-0941-2


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