Abstract

The main Mongolian water resources are lakes whose volume has significantly reduced in recent years as a consequence of global warming. This article presents research on three different types of nearly disposed Western Mongolian lakes with a wide range of brines’ composition: Shaazgai-Nuur (soda), Davsan-Nuur (chloride) and Tonhil-Nuur (sulfate). The aim of this study was to determine the differences in geochemical evolution associated with evaporation-crystallization processes of representative lakes of various chemical types. The modelling was performed by using PHREEQC and HCh software that allows application of Pitzer's approach for saline solutions. The modelling was performed for these natural objects for the first time. The model demonstrated that the evaporation-crystallization processes are different for soda and chloride/sulfate brines. Soda type lake maintained unchanged ion composition while chemical composition of chloride and sulfate lakes went through significant alterations according to a sequence of mineral precipitation. The calculated model did not confirm the possibility of long-term transformation from SO4-Mg brines to Cl-Mg due to evaporative concentration only; additional factors including mixing with inflow water also influence sodium and chloride increase. Close agreement between the model and the actual mineralogical data was observed, testifying to the proper software and reliability of our assumptions.

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