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Microbial and biogeochernical processes Soda Lake, Nevada

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Abstract

Meromictic, alkaline lakes represent modern-day analogues of lacustrine source rock depositional environments. In order to further our understanding of how these lakes function in terms of limnological and biogeochemical processes, we have conducted an interdisciplinary study of Big Soda Lake. Annual mixolimnion productivity (ca. 500 g m-2) is dominated by a winter diatom bloom (60% of annual) caused by upward transport of ammonia to the epilimnion. The remainder of productivity is attributable to chemoautotrophs (30%) and photosynthetic bacteria (10%) present at the oxic -anoxic interface from May to November. Studies of bacterial heterotrophy and particulate fluxes in the water column indicate that about 90% of annual productivity is remineralized in the mixolimnion, primarily by fermentative bacteria. However, high rates of sulphate reduction (9-29 mmol m-2 yr-1) occur in the monimolimnion waters, which could remineralize most (if not all) of the primary productivity. This discrepancy has not as yet been fully explained. Low rates of methanogenesis also occur in the monimolimnion waters and sediments. Most of the methane is consumed by anaerobic methane oxidation occurring in the monimolimnion water column. Other bacterial processes occurring in the lake are also discussed. Preliminary studies have been made on the organic geochemistry of the monimolimnion sediments. Carbon-14-dating indicates a lower depositional rate prior to meromixis and a downcore enrichment in 13C of organic carbon and chlorophyll derivatives. Hydrous pyrolysis experiments indicate that the sediment organic matter is almost entirely derived from the water column with little or no contribution from terrestrial sources. The significance of the organics released by hydrous pyrolysis is discussed.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Microbial and biogeochernical processes Soda Lake, Nevada
Year Published 1988
Language English
Contributing office(s) San Francisco Bay-Delta, Pacific Regional Director's Office
Description 17 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Lacustrine petroleum source rocks: Geological Society Special Publication No. 40
First page 59
Last page 75
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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