The influence of hydrology on lacustrine sediment contaminant records




The way water flows to a lake, through streams, as runoff, or as groundwater, can control the distribution and mass of sediment and contaminants deposited. Whether a lake is large or small, deep or shallow, open or closed, the movement of water to a lake and the circulation patterns of water within a lake control how and where sediment and contaminants are deposited. Particle-associated contaminants may stay close to the input source of contamination or be transported by currents to bathymetric lows. A complex morphology of the lake bottom or shoreline can also affect how contaminants will be distributed. Dissolved contaminants may be widely dispersed in smaller lakes, but may be diluted in large lakes away from the source. Although dissolved contaminants may not be deposited in lake sediments, the impact of dissolved contaminants (such as nitrogen) may be reflected by the ecosystem. For instance, increased phosphorus and nitrogen may increase organic content or algal biomass, and contribute to eutrophication of the lake over time. Changes in oxidation-reduction potential at the sediment-water interface may either release some contaminants to the water column or conversely deposit other contaminants to the sediment depending on the compound’s chemical characteristics. Changes in land use generally affect the hydrology of the watershed surrounding a lake, providing more runoff if soil binding vegetation is removed or if more impervious cover (roads and buildings) is increased. Groundwater inputs may change if pumping of the aquifer connected to the lake occurs. Even if groundwater is only a small portion of the volume of water entering a lake, if contaminant concentrations in the aquifer are high compared to surface water inputs, the mass of contaminants from groundwater may be as, or more, important than surface water contributions.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title The influence of hydrology on lacustrine sediment contaminant records
DOI 10.1007/978-94-017-9541-8_2
Edition 1
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Office of the AD Water
Description 29 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Title Developments in Paleoenvironmental Research
First page 5
Last page 33
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N