Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 141–153 | Cite as

The role of iron and sulfur in the visual appearance of lake sediment varves

  • Veronika Gälman
  • Johan Rydberg
  • Andrei Shchukarev
  • Staffan Sjöberg
  • Antonio Martínez-Cortizas
  • Richard Bindler
  • Ingemar Renberg
Original Paper

Abstract

Easily discernible sediment varves (annual laminations) may be formed in temperate zone lakes, and reflect seasonal changes in the composition of the accumulating material derived from the lake and its catchment (minerogenic and organic material). The appearance of varves may also be influenced by chemical processes. We assessed the role of iron (Fe) and sulfur (S) in the appearance of varves in sediments from Lake Nylandssjön in northern Sweden. We surveyed Fe in the lake water and established whether there is internal transport of Fe within the sediment. We used a unique collection of seven stored freeze cores of varved sediment from the lake, collected from 1979 to 2004. This suite of cores made it possible to follow long-term changes in Fe and S in the sediment caused by processes that occur in the lake bottom when the sediment is ageing. We compared Fe and S concentrations using X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) in specific years in the different cores. No diagenetic front was found in the sediment and the data do not suggest that there is substantial vertical transport of Fe and S in the sediment. We also modeled Fe and S based on thermodynamic, limnological, and sediment data from the lake. The model was limited to the five components H+, e, Fe3+, SO42−, H2CO3 and included the formation of solid phases such as Fe(OH)3 (amorphous), FeOOH (aged, microcrystalline), FeS and FeCO3. Modeling showed that there are pe (redox) ranges within which either FeS or Fe(OH)3/FeOOH is the only solid phase present and there are pe ranges within which the two solid phases co-exist, which supports the hypothesis that blackish and grey-brownish layers that occur in the varves were formed at the time of deposition. This creates new possibilities for deciphering high-temporal-resolution environmental information from varves.

Keywords

Varved (annually laminated) lake sediment Varve appearance Iron Sulfur Chemical speciation Iron cycling 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Veronika Gälman
    • 1
  • Johan Rydberg
    • 1
  • Andrei Shchukarev
    • 2
  • Staffan Sjöberg
    • 2
  • Antonio Martínez-Cortizas
    • 3
  • Richard Bindler
    • 1
  • Ingemar Renberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Environmental ScienceUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry, Environmental and BiogeochemistryUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  3. 3.Departmento de Edafologia y Quimica Agricola, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain

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