Yating He, Junyun Li, Xiuli Li, Jin Liao, Qisheng Liang, Huayan Li, Rong Duan, Chenyi Wang, Bao Liu, Yanxia Xue, Tingyong Li

Characteristics and Influencing Factors of Dissolved Organic Matter in Cave Drip Water—A Case Study from Furong Cave, Southwest China

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Biochemistry

Understanding the hydrological processes of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in the surface karst zone is crucial for the utilization and safety of groundwater resources. However, research on DOM in drip water from karst caves is limited. In this study, continuous monitoring was conducted for four years at four drip water monitoring sites (MP1, MP2, MP3, and MP9) in Furong Cave, Southwest China. The three-dimensional fluorescence excitation–emission spectroscopy (3D-EEM) and fluorescence region integration (FRI) methods were employed, along with correlation analysis, to investigate the spectral characteristics, composition, sources, and influencing factors of the DOM in the drip water of Furong Cave. The results indicated that (1) the three-dimensional fluorescence peaks in the drip water were classified into six categories: A, B, C, T, Ti, and M. (2) The dominant source of the drip water DOM is endogenous organic matter. (3) The FRI analysis indicates a relatively high proportion of Type II substances in the drip water, predominantly composed of tryptophan-like substances. (4) The DOM in the drip water of Furong Cave was influenced by various factors, including the mixing effect of “new” and “old” water, water residence time in karst systems, and water–rock interactions (WRI), resulting in the complex responses of drip rates and DOM to surface precipitation and temperature at different drip water sites. This study provides a reference for comparative research on DOM in cave drip water in karst regions, which contributes to a better understanding of the migration mechanism of DOM in karst aquifers under different climate and karst ecological conditions.

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