Articles | Volume 9, issue 1
Clim. Past, 9, 135–148, 2013

Special issue: Initial results from lake El'gygytgyn, western Beringia: first...

Clim. Past, 9, 135–148, 2013

Research article 22 Jan 2013

Research article | 22 Jan 2013

Modern sedimentation patterns in Lake El'gygytgyn, NE Russia, derived from surface sediment and inlet streams samples

V. Wennrich1, A. Francke1, A. Dehnert2, O. Juschus3, T. Leipe4, C. Vogt5, J. Brigham-Grette6, P. S. Minyuk7, M. Melles1, and El'gygytgyn Science Party V. Wennrich et al.
  • 1University of Cologne, Institute for Geology and Mineralogy, Cologne, Germany
  • 2Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate ENSI, Brugg, Switzerland
  • 3Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development, Eberswalde, Germany
  • 4Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemuende, Marine Geology, Rostock, Germany
  • 5University Bremen, Department of Geosciences, Crystallography/ZEKAM, Bremen, Germany
  • 6University of Massachusetts, Department of Geosciences, Amherst, USA
  • 7Russian Academy of Sciences, Northeast Interdisciplinary Scientific Research Institute, Magadan, Russia

Abstract. Lake El'gygytgyn/NE Russia holds a continuous 3.58 Ma sediment record, which is regarded as the most long-lasting climate archive of the terrestrial Arctic. Based on multi-proxy geochemical, mineralogical, and granulometric analyses of surface sediment, inlet stream and bedrock samples, supplemented by statistical methods, major processes influencing the modern sedimentation in the lake were investigated. Grain-size parameters and chemical elements linked to the input of feldspars from acidic bedrock indicate a wind-induced two-cell current system as major driver of sediment transport and accumulation processes in Lake El'gygytgyn. The distribution of mafic rock related elements in the sediment on the lake floor can be traced back to the input of weathering products of basaltic rocks in the catchment. Obvious similarities in the spatial variability of manganese and heavy metals indicate sorption or co-precipitation of these elements with Fe and Mn hydroxides and oxides. But the similar distribution of organic matter and clay contents might also point to a fixation to organic components and clay minerals. An enrichment of mercury in the inlet streams might be indicative of neotectonic activity around the lake. The results of this study add to the fundamental knowledge of the modern lake processes of Lake El'gygytgyn and its lake-catchment interactions, and thus, yield crucial insights for the interpretation of paleo-data from this unique archive.