Results of a study of sediment cores from four reservoirs in the upper Mississippi River Basin, USA, indicated that anomalous organic carbon concentrations associated with flood deposits may provide detectable temporal markers in reservoir bottom sediments. Temporal markers are needed for reservoir sediment studies to date sediment layers deposited between the 1963-64 cesium-137 peak and the present. For two of four reservoirs studied, anomalously low organic carbon concentrations were measured for a sample interval in the upper part of a sediment core. The anomalous interval was interpreted to have been deposited during the July 1993 flood that affected a large area of the upper Mississippi River Basin. Potentially, the July 1993 flood deposit may be used as a temporal marker in reservoir bottom sediments in parts of the basin affected by the flood. Several uncertainties remain regarding the viability of organic carbon as a temporal marker including the combination of flood, basin, and reservoir characteristics required to produce a recognizable organic carbon marker in the bottom sediment and the optimal sampling strategy needed to detect the marker in a sediment core. It is proposed that flood duration and basin size may be important factors as to whether or not an anomalous and detectable organic carbon layer is deposited in a reservoir. ?? Copyright by the North American Lake Management Society 2004.
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Flood-related, organic-carbon anomalies as possible temporal markers in reservoir bottom sediments