Environmental Geology

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 177–190 | Cite as

Modern sedimentology and hydrology of Lake Manitoba, Canada

  • William M. Last


Lake Manitoba, North America's thirteenth largest lake, occupies a glacier-scoured basin in south-central Manitoba. Despite its large size, the lake is extremely shallow with a mean depth of 4.5 m. The lake can be subdivided into two connected but distinctly different basins: a small, irregular-shaped North Basin and a much larger and smoother South Basin. Most of the water inflow is from the Waterhen River (42% of the inflow) and from precipitation directly on the lake's surface (40%), while nearly 60% of the outflow is by evaporation. Lake Manitoba water is alkaline and brackish with the salinity dominated by sodium and chloride ions.

The surficial offshore deposits of the main South Basin of the lake consist mainly of silt and clay-sized sediments composed of detrital components (clay minerals, quartz, carbonates, and feldspars) and endogenic/authigenic components (carbonates, sulfides, and organic matter). In addition to these modern sediments, several areas of relict fluvial-shoreline sand and till deposits occur in the South Basin.

The lacustrine processes presently operating in Lake Manitoba reflect the influence of (1) the extreme shallow depth of the lake, (2) the basin morphology, and (3) the water chemistry. In addition, land clearing and increased watershed drainage have resulted in substantially increased sedimentation rates in the South Basin during the past century.


Sulfide Silt North America Clay Mineral Sedimentology 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • William M. Last
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

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