Volcanic Lakes pp 379-399 | Cite as

Volcanic Lake Sediments as Sensitive Archives of Climate and Environmental Change

  • Aldo MarchettoEmail author
  • Daniel Ariztegui
  • Achim Brauer
  • Andrea Lami
  • Anna Maria Mercuri
  • Laura Sadori
  • Luigi Vigliotti
  • Sabine Wulf
  • Piero Guilizzoni
Part of the Advances in Volcanology book series (VOLCAN)


In efforts to understand the natural variability of the Earth climate system and the potential for future climate and environmental (e.g., biodiversity) changes, palaeodata play a key role by extending the baseline of environmental and climatic observations. Lake sediments, and particularly sediment archives of volcanic lakes, help to decipher natural climate variability at seasonal to millennial scales, and help identifying causal mechanisms. Their importance includes their potential to provide precise and accurate inter-archive correlations (e.g., based on tephrochronology) and to record cyclicity and high frequency climate signals. We present a few examples of commonly used techniques and proxy-records to investigate past climatic variability and its influence to the history of the lakes and of their biota. This paper is rather a presentation of potentials and limits of palaeolimnological and limnogeological research on crater lakes, than a pervasive review of palaeolimnological studies on crater lakes. We show the importance of seismic stratigraphy for the selection of coring sites, and discuss problems in core chronology. Then we give examples of physical and chemical proxies, including magnetism, micro-facies and oxygen and carbon stable isotopes from crater lake deposits mainly located in central and southern Europe. Finally, we present the use of air-transported (pollens) and lacustrine biological remains. The continuing need to develop new approaches and methods stimulated us to mention, as an example, the potential of the studies of subsurface biosphere, and the effects of microbiological metabolism on mineral diagenesis in sediments.


Paleolimnology Volcanic lake sediments Seismic sequence stratigraphy Dating sediment cores Oxygen and carbon isotopes Magnetism Palynology Climate and environmental change 



We are grateful to J.P. Smol and two anonymous reviewers for their comments that improved the quality of this manuscript, and to Dmitri Rouwet for inviting us to join this editorial project.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aldo Marchetto
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daniel Ariztegui
    • 2
  • Achim Brauer
    • 3
  • Andrea Lami
    • 1
  • Anna Maria Mercuri
    • 4
  • Laura Sadori
    • 5
  • Luigi Vigliotti
    • 6
  • Sabine Wulf
    • 3
  • Piero Guilizzoni
    • 1
  1. 1.CNR ISE Institute of Ecosystem StudyVerbania PallanzaItaly
  2. 2.University of Geneva, Section of Earth and Environmental SciencesGenevaSwitzerland
  3. 3.GFZ German Research Center for GeosciencesPotsdamGermany
  4. 4.Department of BiologyUniversity of Modena and Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly
  5. 5.Department of Environmental BiologyUniversity “La Sapienza”RomeItaly
  6. 6.CNR ISMAR, Institute of Marine SciencesBolognaItaly

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