Impact of late glacial climate variations on stratification and trophic state of the meromictic lake Längsee (Austria): validation of a conceptual model by multi proxy studies

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Roland SCHMIDT *
Roland PSENNER
Jens MÜLLER
Peter INDINGER
Christian KAMENIK
(*) Corresponding Author:
Roland SCHMIDT | roland.schmidt@oeaw.ac.at

Abstract

Selected pigments, diatoms and diatom-inferred phosphorus (Di-TP) concentrations of a late glacial sediment core section of the meromictic Längsee, Austria, were compared with tephra- and varve-dated pollen stratigraphic and geochemical results. A conceptual model was adopted for Längsee and evaluated using multi proxy data. During the unforested late Pleniglacial, a holomictic lake stage with low primary productivity prevailed. Subsequent to the Lateglacial Betula expansion, at about 14,300 cal. y BP, okenone and isorenieratene, pigments from purple and green sulphur bacteria, indicate the onset of anoxic conditions in the hypolimnion. The formation of laminae coincides with this anoxic, meromictic period with high, though fluctuating, amounts of okenone that persisted throughout the Lateglacial interstadial. The occurrence of unlaminated sediment sections of allochthonous origin, and concurrent low concentrations of okenone, were related to cool and wet climate fluctuations during this period, probably coupled with a complete mixing of the water column. Two of these oscillations of the Lateglacial interstadial have been correlated tentatively with the Aegelsee and Gerzensee oscillations in the Alps. The latter climate fluctuation divides a period of enhanced anoxia and primary productivity, correlated with the Alleröd chronozone. Continental climate conditions were assumed to be the main driving forces for meromictic stability during Alleröd times. In addition, calcite dissolution due to severe hypolimnetic anoxia, appear to have supported meromictic stability. Increased pigment concentrations, which are in contrast to low diatom-inferred total phosphorus (Di- TP), indicate the formation of a productive metalimnion during this period, probably due to a clear-water phase (low catchment erosion), increased temperatures, and a steep gradient between the phosphorus enriched hypolimnion and the oligotrophic epilimnion. Meltwater impacts from an extended snow-cover and a summer temperature decline, together with climate instability, are assumed to be the main reasons for the lowering of the anoxic level during the following, climatically heterogeneous, Younger Dryas. Meromictic stability was re-established with the termination of the Younger Dryas. The sequence of key pigments, Di-TP, calcite, siliciclastics, and organic carbon, seem to be in accordance with the assumptions of the conceptual model.

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