Southern hemispheric westerlies control the spatial distribution of modern sediments in Laguna Potrok Aike, Argentina
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We studied the internal lake processes that control the spatial distribution and characteristics of modern sediments at the ICDP (International Continental Scientific Drilling Program) deep drilling site in Laguna Potrok Aike, southern Patagonia, Argentina. Sediment distribution patterns were investigated using a dense grid of 63 gravity cores taken throughout the lake basin and 40 additional shoreline samples. Analysis of the surficial sediment distribution points to distinct internal depositional dynamics induced by wind-driven lake internal currents. Distribution maps illustrate that the spatial characteristics of analysed variables are linked to high erosional wave activity. Persistent wave action and littoral erosion along all shores, especially the eastern shore, is caused by prevailing Southern Hemispheric Westerlies. Several sediment variables (grain size, benthic diatoms, total inorganic carbon and calcium) indicate re-suspension of littoral sediment followed by re-distribution to profundal accumulation areas near the eastern shore. Variations within the catchment influence sediment characteristics in the north-eastern bay. That area is characterized by different mineralogical and sedimentological conditions as well as greater accumulation of pollen, inorganic carbon and diatoms. These findings are related to the influence of episodic inflow into this bay. Spatial differences in stable isotope values throughout the lake suggest that ephemeral tributaries around the lake basin may also contribute to the detected spatial sediment variations.