The lake-level variations of Lago Fagnano, the largest lake in Tierra del Fuego, southernmost South America, on time scales from a few minutes to three years are investigated using a geodetic approach and applying the tools of time series analysis. Based on pressure tide gauge records at three locations in the lake precise lake-level time series are derived. The analysis of the observed variations in space, time and frequency domain leads to the separation of the principal force-response mechanisms. We show that the lake-level variations in Lago Fagnano can be described essentially as a combination of lake-level shift and tilt and of surface seiches. Regarding the lake-level response to air-pressure forcing, a significant departure from the inverse barometer model is found. Surface seiches dynamics are particularly intensive in Lago Fagnano pointing towards exceptionally low dissipative friction. An undisturbed series of seiches lasting eleven days is presented; and at least eleven longitudinal modes are identified. Based on the characterisation of the main contributions in space and time as well as their relation to the driving forces, a model for the transfer of the lake-level variations at a reference point to an arbitrary location in the lake with an accuracy of 1 cm is developed.
hydrodynamics, lake level, surface seiches, tide gauge, time series analysis