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PCA was used to identify two main factors (Table 3) based on discharge, water temperature, conductivity, mineral content, pH, and selected ion concentrations. The two factors explain 78.28% of variation in the case of Goryczkowe Vaucluse Spring and 85.47% of variation in the case of Bystrej Górne Vaucluse Spring. In the case of Factor 1, the greater the spring discharge, the lower the values of physical and chemical characteristics and ion concentrations in Goryczkowe and Bystrej Górne vaucluse springs. This relationship is typical of groundwater dilution processes driven by low mineral content snowmelt and precipitation water (Evans et al. 1996; Bhangu & Whitfield 1997; Piatek et al. 2009). It was observed for Goryczkowe Spring that water temperature increases with increasing discharge. The opposite tendency was noted for Bystrej Górne Vaucluse Spring. The negative relationship between spring discharge and the concentration of Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+, and as well as the correlation between the four ions indicate that these ions come from rock weathering (Caissie et al. 1996). Next, in the case of Factor 2 for Bystrej Górne Vaucluse Spring, the higher the water temperature, the higher the pH and the lower the concentrations of K+, Na+, Cl, and . In the case of Goryczkowe Vaucluse Spring, the higher the water temperature, the higher the pH and concentration of and the lower the concentration of , Cl, and NO3 (Factor 2). This factor is associated with the absorption of ions needed to sustain life in the catchment. The concentration of biogenic ions usually decreases during the vegetation season due to ion absorption by plants (Semkin et al. 1994; Campbell et al. 2000; Sullivan & Drever 2001; Butturini & Sabater 2002; Clark et al. 2004; Lovett et al. 2005; Toran & White 2005).

Table 3

Factor loadings of physical and chemical characteristics of Goryczkowe Vaucluse Spring and Bystrej Górne Vaucluse Spring

Vaucluse springGoryczkowe
Bystrej Górne
FeatureFactor 1Factor 2Factor 1Factor 2
Discharge 0.94  0.86  
Temperature 0.48 − 0.52 − 0.47 − 0.49 
pH  − 0.49 − 0.65 − 0.63 
EC25°C 0.94  0.98  
TDS 0.94  0.98  
Ca2+ 0.98  0.98  
Mg2+ 0.92  0.94  
Na+ 0.75   0.88 
K+ − 0.61  − 0.59 0.68 
NH4+ − 0.63 0.67 0.78  
 0.89  0.96  
SO42– 0.72 − 0.55 0.90  
Cl − 0.57 0.76 0.85 0.45 
NO3 − 0.55 0.79 0.83 0.47 
Variance (%) 56.98 21.30 66.46 19.01 
Vaucluse springGoryczkowe
Bystrej Górne
FeatureFactor 1Factor 2Factor 1Factor 2
Discharge 0.94  0.86  
Temperature 0.48 − 0.52 − 0.47 − 0.49 
pH  − 0.49 − 0.65 − 0.63 
EC25°C 0.94  0.98  
TDS 0.94  0.98  
Ca2+ 0.98  0.98  
Mg2+ 0.92  0.94  
Na+ 0.75   0.88 
K+ − 0.61  − 0.59 0.68 
NH4+ − 0.63 0.67 0.78  
 0.89  0.96  
SO42– 0.72 − 0.55 0.90  
Cl − 0.57 0.76 0.85 0.45 
NO3 − 0.55 0.79 0.83 0.47 
Variance (%) 56.98 21.30 66.46 19.01 

Loadings ≥0.70 are bold, loadings less than 0.40 are excluded.

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