The magnitude and direction of groundwater flux in the bottom sediments of Lake Michigan were deduced from measurements made during three shipboard cruises between 1973 and 1975. These factors affect the geochemical environment of the sediments and therefore the distribution of trace elements reported to be present. The near-shore, sandy-bottom and fine-grained, soft, deep-lake sediments were investigated; areas of hard till or bedrock were not included in the study. Thirty-three piezometers were placed in near-shore sands in waters 5-15 m deep. The piezometers were placed an average of 3 m into the bottom sediment. Water levels from the piezometers averaged 0.6 cm above the lake level, equivalent to an upward hydraulic gradient of about 0.002 cm/cm. Water samples taken from the piezometers have a distinctly different chemical composition from that of the lake water. The total dissolved mineral content and hardness of the groundwater are about twice those of the lake water. Twenty-two hydraulic gradient measurements were made in the fine-grained soft deep-lake sediments in waters 48-140 m deep by using a differential-pressure transducer dropped into the sediments. These measurements show an upward gradient averaging 0.2 cm/cm. No chemical data were obtained for the groundwater in the deep-lake sediments. The results of this study indicate that the groundwater flux is upward through the bottom sediments into Lake Michigan and that there is a chemical change in the water near the water-sediment contact. ?? 1979.
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Hydraulic potential in Lake Michigan bottom sediments