Holocene lake-level changes and their reflection in the paleolimnological records of two lakes in northern Estonia
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Sediment cores from two neighbouring lakes (Viitna Linajärv and Viitna Pikkjärv) in northern Estonia were studied to determine lake-level fluctuations during the Holocene and their impact on biogeochemical cycling. Organic matter and pollen records dated by radiocarbon and radiolead indicated a water level rise in both lakes during the early Holocene (c. 10 000–8000 BP). A regression followed around 7500 BP and several transgressions occurred during the latter half of the Holocene, c. 6500 and 3000 BP. Human impact during the last centuries has caused short-term lake-level fluctuations and accelerated sediment accumulation in the lakes. The differences in water depth led to variations in sediment formation. During 10 000–8000 BP (Preboreal and Boreal chronozones) mineral-rich sediments with coloured interlayers deposited in L. Linajärv. These sediments indicate intensive erosion from the catchment and oxygen-rich lake, which favoured precipitation of iron oxides and carbonates. Fluctuations in water depth, leaching of nutrients from catchment soils and climatic changes increased the trophy of L. Linajärv around 6000 BP. The subsequent accumulation of gyttja, the absence of CaCO3 and the decrease in both the C/N ratio and phosphorus content in the sediments also indicate anoxic conditions in the hypolimnion. The similarity in the development of L. Linajärv and L. Pikkjärv and their proximity made it possible to discern the impact of water depths changes on biogeochemical cycling in lakes.
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