Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 173–189 | Cite as

A mineral magnetic and scaled-chrysophyte paleolimnological study of two northeastern Pennsylvania lakes: records of fly ash deposition, land-use change, and paleorainfall variation

  • K. P. Kodama
  • J. C. Lyons
  • Peter A. Siver
  • Anne-Marie Lott


A combined mineral magnetic and scaled chrysophyte study of lake sediments from Lake Lacawac and Lake Giles in northeastern Pennsylvania was conducted to determine the effects of land-use and sediment source changes on the variation of pH, conductivity, and alkalinity inferred from biotic changes. Ten 30–40 cm long gravity cores were collected from Lake Lacawac and three from Lake Giles. Isothermal remanent magnetizations (IRMs) were given to the lake sediments in a 1.3 T magnetic field to measure magnetic mineral concentration variations. IRM acquisition experiments were conducted to identify magnetic mineralogy. The bedrock, soils and a peat bog on the shores of Lake Lacawac were also sampled for magnetic analysis to determine possible lake sediment sources. The top 10 cm of sediment collected from Lakes Lacawac and Giles was two to four times more magnetic than deeper sediment. 210Pb dating suggests that this intensity increase commenced circa 1900. SEM images of magnetic extracts from the highly magnetic sediments indicates the presence of magnetic fly ash microspheres from fossil fuel burning electric power generation plants. The similarity in magnetic coercivity in the top 8 cm lake sediments and in the peat bog supports an atmospheric source for some of the magnetic minerals in the youngest lake sediments. The highly magnetic sediments also contain an antiferromagnetic mineral in two cores closest to Lake Lacawac‘s southeastern shore. This magnetic mineral is only present deep in the soil profile and would suggest erosion and significant land-use changes in the Lacawac watershed as another cause for the high magnetic intensities (concentrations) in the top 10 cm of the lake sediments. The most significant changes in the scaled chrysophyte flora occurred immediately above the 10 cm level and were used to infer a doubling of the specific conductivity between circa 1910 and 1929. These variations also support land-use changes in the Lacawac catchment at this time. A similar shift in the scaled chrysophte flora was not observed in the top of Lake Giles, however, distinct changes were found in the deeper sections of the core coupled with a smaller peak in magnetic concentration. Fourier analysis of the 210Pb-dated lake sediment magnetics indicates the presence of a 50 year period, low amplitude variation in the Lake Lacawac, Lake Giles, and Lake Waynewood (Lott et al., 1994) magnetic concentration records. After removal of the land-use/fly ash magnetic concentration peak by Gaussian filtering, the 50 year variation correlates strongly from lake to lake even though the lakes are in different watersheds separated by up to 30 km. When this magnetic variation is compared with Gaussian-filtered rainfall variations observed in New York City and Philadelphia over the past 120–250 years there is a strong correlation suggesting that magnetic concentration variations can record regional rainfall variations with an approximately 50 year period. This result indicates that magnetics could be used to document regional variations in climatic change.

mineral magnetism scaled chrysophytes Pocono Mountains land-use changes paleorainfall variation atmospheric fly-ashdeposition 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. P. Kodama
    • 1
  • J. C. Lyons
    • 1
  • Peter A. Siver
    • 2
  • Anne-Marie Lott
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Earth and Environmental SciencesLehigh UniversityBethlehemUSA
  2. 2.Botany DepartmentConnecticut CollegeNew LondonUSA

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