Suspended sediment transport and deposition in a high arctic meromictic lake

Publication Title

Journal of Paleolimnology

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Department or Program


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density-stratified lake, Ellesmere Island, high arctic, laminated lacustrine sediments, overflow and interflow processes, paleoclimate, Arctic, deposition, meromictic lake, sediment transport, suspended sediment


A study of sedimentary processes and sediment yields in a high arctic meromictic lake (Lake C2, Taconite Inlet, northern Ellesemere Island, Canada) was undertaken from May 1990 through August 1992 to understand the links between climatic controls, hydrology, and the laminated sediment record preserved in the lake. Understanding the relationships between processes and the sediment record is critical for interpreting the climatic significance of the laminated sediments in a region where high resolution climate proxy records are quite limited. Sediment transport to Lake C2 is dominated by fluvial processes. During the early part of the melt season slushflows transport sediment to the lake surface. Subsequently, suspended sediment is delivered to the lake by the main inlet stream and distributed lakeward by a plume emanating the main inlet channel. Due to the strong density stratification of the water column the plume distributes sediment downlake by overflows and interflows in the epilimnion. In general, overflows are generated by lower discharge events whereas interflows penetrate to the halocline during high discharge with increased suspended sediment concentration. Sediment trap analysis demonstrates that suspended sediment transport and deposition responds to diurnal through annual changes in stream discharge. Seasonal and annual sediment trap yields agree with average accumulation rates determined from varve thickness measurements and cumulative suspended sediment discharge from the main inlet stream indicating a close link between climatological, hydrological, and sedimentological controls and varve deposition.


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