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Volume 2018 (2018), Article ID 1985784, 12 pages
Research Article

Origin of Boron and Brine Evolution in Saline Springs in the Nangqen Basin, Southern Tibetan Plateau

1Key Laboratory of Comprehensive and Highly Efficient Utilization of Salt Lake Resources, Qinghai Institute of Salt Lakes, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining, Qinghai 810008, China
2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3Key Laboratory of Salt Lake Geology and Environment of Qinghai Province, Qinghai Institute of Salt Lakes, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining, Qinghai 810008, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Feng-qing Han

Received 11 April 2017; Revised 8 August 2017; Accepted 8 November 2017; Published 21 January 2018

Academic Editor: Ferenc Molnar

Copyright © 2018 Ji-long Han et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The Nangqen Basin is a typical shearing-extensional basin situated in the hinterland of the Tibetan Plateau. It contains abundant saline spring resources and abnormal trace element enrichments. The hydrochemical molar ratios (Na/Cl, B/Cl, and Br/Cl), H-O isotopes, and B isotopes of the saline spring were systematically measured to describe the evolution of brines and the origin of the boron. The sodium chloride coefficient of the water samples in this area is around 1.0 or slightly greater, which is characteristic of leached brines; the highest B/Cl value is 4.25 (greater than that of seawater). The Na/Cl, B/Cl, and Br/Cl values of the springs are clear indicators of a crustal origin. The 18O values of the spring waters range from −12.88 to −16.05, and the D values range from −100.91 to −132.98. Meanwhile the B content and B isotopes in the saline springs are in the ranges of 1.00 to 575.56 ppm and +3.55 to +29.59, respectively. It has been proven that the saline springs in the Nangqen Basin are a type of leached brine, suggesting that the saline springs have a terrestrial origin. The 11B-B characteristics of the springs are similar to those observed in the Tibetan geothermal area, indicating that these two places have the same B source. Moreover, they have a crustal origin (marine carbonate rocks and volcanic rocks) instead of a deep mantle source.