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PaleolimnologyThe History and Evolution of Lake Systems$
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Andrew S. Cohen

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195133530

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195133530.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 October 2021

Geochemical Archives in Lake Deposits

Geochemical Archives in Lake Deposits

(p.241) 9 Geochemical Archives in Lake Deposits

Andrew S. Cohen

Oxford University Press

As we saw in chapter 4, the isotopic, elemental, or molecular constituents of a lake and its sediments reflect both external chemical inputs and the lake’s internal biogeochemical cycles. Lake sediment geochemistry is the product of interactions between these external inputs from watershed geology, groundwater, vegetation, and the airshed, and internal lake processes. Both external and internal inputs are heavily influenced by climate, and for the past few thousand years, human activities. With careful consideration of the various information filters affecting their records, geochemists can greatly broaden the scope of questions that can be addressed using paleolimnology. It is of critical importance when interpreting chemical data, that it be placed in the context of other sedimentological or paleontological archives. With modern, automated techniques, it is possible to amass large amounts of geochemical data in a relatively short time, data that can be compiled into deceptively ‘‘simple’’ geochemical profiles. Perhaps more than any other types of indicator, geochemical profiles are often interpreted as standalone records, without reference to petrographical, or even gross lithofacies information. Although it is tempting to read chemical stratigraphies as a direct record of inputs from a watershed or airshed, the signals are blurred by the whole host of messy, internal processes that we have already encountered in the hydroclimate filter: lag and residence time effects, reworking, particle and redox focusing, organismal uptake, and bioturbation. Lake deposits integrate local changes in source conditions, background sedimentation rates, and geochemical focusing processes (Engstrom and Swain, 1986). As a result, different locations within a lake may provide different geochemical histories, and interpretations of an integrated lake history must take into account these internal variations and their probable causes. This is always harder to do with paleolake deposits, where the original basin morphometry and hydrology is obscure. In this chapter we will also consider postdepositional information filters that affect geochemical archives, in particular bioturbation and diagenesis. Because many geochemical components of interest to paleolimnologists are bound to fine-grained particles, they can be readily mixed by bioturbation.

Keywords:   Alkalinity, Bedrock, Calcite, Deforestation, Eocene, Fecal pellets, Geolipids, Halophile, Land use

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