Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 837–853 | Cite as

A Comparison of Sediment Varves (1950–2003 AD) in Two Adjacent Lakes in Northern Sweden

  • V. Gälman
  • G. Petterson
  • I. Renberg


Koltjärnen and Nylandssjön are two closely situated lakes (<2 km apart) in northern Sweden. During the past century, distinct varved sediments have formed in these lakes. Nylandssjön has two varved, deep basins. Since lake and catchment characteristics superficially appear very similar for the two lakes and they are exposed to the same climate, one would expect the sediment varves to be similar. This investigation compares the varves in the two deep basins of Nylandssjön, and in the two lakes. The comparison of basins of Nylandssjön shows that varve thickness, water content and annual accumulation rates of organic matter and nitrogen are correlated for the period (1970–2003). The grey-scale curves are only clearly similar in about 50% of the varves. In the between-lake comparison varve thickness, water content and annual accumulation rates of organic matter and nitrogen are correlated for the period (1950–1996). However, the annual accumulation rates of dry mass, minerogenic matter and biogenic silica differ between the lakes, as well as within-varve successions in grey-scale. A general explanation to the differences is that the prerequisites for varve formation are not totally similar because of differences in catchment size, catchment- to-lake material fluxes, lake productivity and land-use influence. This study illustrates the complex relationships that exist between a lake, its catchment, in-lake productivity and formation of sediment varves. As a consequence, we must not apply a too simplistic view of the potential of varves as past climatic indicators, especially if the lakes are affected by land-use.


Climate change Grey-scale Image analysis Land-use Sediment accumulation rate Varve thickness 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental Assessment Group, Department of Ecology and Environmental ScienceUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden

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