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Salinization of surface and groundwater has been directly linked to the area of road surfaces in a watershed and the subsequent wintertime maintenance used to keep roads free of snow and ice. Most studies that explore road salt in snow along roadways limit the study to within 100 m from a roadway and conclude that there is negligible deposition of de-icing salt at distances greater than 100 m. In this study, we analyze the ion content of the southern New Hampshire snowpack and use Mg2+ as a conservative sea-salt tracer to calculate sea salt and non-sea salt fractions of Cl−. There is a minimum of 60% non-sea salt Cl−, which we attribute to road salt, in the snowpack at our study sites 115 to 350 m from the nearest maintained roadways. This suggests that larger areas need to be considered when investigating the negative impact of Cl− loading due to winter-time maintenance.
Earth Systems Research Center
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Lazarcik, J.; Dibb, J.E. Evidence of Road Salt in New Hampshire’s Snowpack Hundreds of Meters from Roadways. Geosciences 2017, 7, 54.