Using stable isotopes and major ions to identify recharge characteristics of the Alpine groundwater-flow dominated Triglavska Bistrica River
Triglavska Bistrica is a typical Alpine river in the north-western part of Slovenia. Its recharge area includes some of the highest peaks in the Julian Alps. The hydrogeological conditions and flow of the river depend largely on groundwater exchange between the karstified aquifer in the carbonate rocks and the intergranular aquifer in the glaciofluvial deposits. The average volume of the river flow is up to several m3/s. In this study, water samples from different locations along the river were analysed for stable isotope ratios of oxygen and hydrogen, major ions, and concentration of tritium activity. The correlation of major ions suggests that the recharge area consists of both limestone and dolomite rocks. The δ18O and δ2H values decrease downstream, implying that the average recharge elevation increases. At the downstream sampling site V-5, located approx. 300 m upstream from the confluence of the Sava Dolinka River, the calculated mean recharge altitude is estimated to be 1,996 m.