Advertisement

Lake Sediments as Archives of Recurrence Rates and Intensities of Past Flood Events

  • Adrian Gilli
  • Flavio S. Anselmetti
  • Lukas Glur
  • Stefanie B. Wirth
Chapter
Part of the Advances in Global Change Research book series (AGLO, volume 47)

Abstract

Palaeoflood hydrology is an expanding field as the damage potential of flood and flood-related processes are increasing with the population density and the value of the infrastructure. Assessing the risk of these hazards in mountainous terrain requires knowledge about the frequency and severness of such events in the past. A wide range of methods is employed using diverse biologic, geomorphic or geologic evidences to track past flood events. Impact of floods are studied and dated on alluvial fans and cones using for example the growth disturbance of trees (Stoffel and Bollschweiler 2008; Schneuwly-Bollschweiler and Stoffel 2012: this volume) or stratigraphic layers deposited by debris flows, allowing to reconstruct past flood frequencies (Bardou et~al. 2003). Further downstream, the classical approach of palaeoflood hydrology (Kochel and Baker 1982) utilizes geomorphic indicators such as overbank sediments, silt lines and erosion features of floods along a river (e.g. Benito and Thorndycraft 2005). Fine-grained sediment settles out of the river suspension in eddies or backwater areas, where the flow velocity of the river is reduced. Records of these deposits at different elevations across a river’s profile can be used to assess the discharge of the past floods. This approach of palaeoflood hydrology studies was successfully applied in several river catchments (e.g. Ely et al. 1993; Macklin and Lewin 2003; O’Connor et al. 1994; Sheffer et al. 2003; Thorndycraft et al. 2005; Thorndycraft and Benito 2006). All these different reconstruction methods have their own advantages and disadvantages, but often these studies have a limited time coverage and the records are potentially incomplete due to lateral limits of depositional areas and due to the erosional power of fluvial processes that remove previously deposited flood witnesses. Here, we present a method that follows the sediment particle transported by a flood event to its final sink: the lacustrine basin.

Keywords

Debris Flow Flood Event Isothermal Remanent Magnetization Background Sediment Background Sedimentation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors thank the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) for the financial support within the project ‘FloodAlp’ (Project No. 200021–121909) to initiate research on the Holocene flood history in Switzerland and northern Italy using lake sediments. Figures 1 and 3 contains scientific results form a joint project on Lake Ledro, Italy whose co-funding by the French ANR (project LAMA, directed by M. Magny and N. Combourieu-Nebout) is kindly acknowledged. The cores from Lake Thun shown in Fig. 2 were collected as part of a project in cooperation with Stephanie Girardclos, University of Geneva.

References

  1. Anselmetti FS, Ariztegui D, De Batist M, Gebhardt AC, Haberzettl T, Niessen F, Ohlendorf C, Zolitschka B (2009) Environmental history of southern Patagonia unraveled by the seismic stratigraphy of Laguna Potrok Aike. Sedimentology 56:873–892CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Appleby PG (2001) Chronostratigraphic techniques in recent sediments. In: Last WM, Smol JP (eds) Tracking environmental change using lake sediments, vol 1, Basin analysis, coring and chronological techniques. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, pp 171–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arnaud F, Revel M, Chapron E, Desmet M, Tribovillard N (2005) 7200 years of Rhone river flooding activity in Lake Le Bourget, France: a high-resolution sediment record of NW Alps hydrology. The Holocene 15:420–428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bardou E, Fournier F, Sartori M (2003) Paleoflood reconstruction at Illgraben torrent (Switzerland): a current need for event frequency estimation. In: Thorndycraft VR, Benito G, Barriendos M, Llasat C (eds) Palaeofloods, historical floods and climate variability: applications in flood risk assessment. Proceedings of the PHEFRA international workshop, Barcelona, pp 53–59, 16–19 October 2002Google Scholar
  5. Benito G, Thorndycraft VR (2005) Palaeoflood hydrology and its role in applied hydrological sciences. J Hydrol 313:3–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bierman P, Lini A, Zehfuss P, Church A, Davis PT, Southon J, Baldwin L (1997) Postglacial ponds and alluvial fans: recorders of Holocene landscape history. GSA Today 7:1–8Google Scholar
  7. Boe AG, Dahl SO, Lie O, Nesje A (2006) Holocene river floods in the upper Glomma catchment, southern Norway: a high-resolution multiproxy record from lacustrine sediments. The Holocene 16:445–455CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brown SL, Bierman PR, Lini A, Southon J (2000) 10,000 yr record of extreme hydrologic events. Geology 28:335–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bussmann F, Anselmetti FS (2010) Rossberg landslide history and flood chronology as recorded in Lake Lauerz sediments (Central Switzerland). Swiss J Geosci 103:43–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chapron E, Beck C, Pourchet M, Deconinck J-F (1999) 1822 earthquake-triggered homogenite in Lake Le Bourget (NW Alps). Terra Nova 11:86–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chapron E, Desmet M, De Putter T, Loutre MF, Beck C, Deconinck JF (2002) Climatic variability in the northwestern Alps, France, as evidenced by 600 years of terrigenous sedimentation in Lake Le Bourget. The Holocene 12:177–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chapron E, Arnaud F, Noel H, Revel M, Desmet M, Perdereau L (2005) Rhone River flood deposits in Lake Le Bourget: a proxy for Holocene environmental changes in the NW Alps, France. Boreas 34:404–416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dapples F, Lotter AF, van Leeuwen JFN, van der Knaap WO, Dimitriadis S, Oswald D (2002) Paleolimnological evidence for increased landslide activity due to forest clearing and land-use since 3600 cal BP in the western Swiss Alps. J Paleolimnol 27:239–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Deevey ES, Gross MS, Hutchinson GE, Kraybill HL (1954) The natural C14 content of materials from hard-water lakes. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 40:285–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Eden DN, Page MJ (1998) Palaeoclimatic implications of a storm erosion record from late Holocene lake sediments, North Island, New Zealand. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol 139:37–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ely LL, Enzel Y, Baker VR, Cayan DR (1993) A 5000-year record of extreme flood and climate-change in the southwestern United States. Science 262:410–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gilli A, Anselmetti FS, Ariztegui D, McKenzie JA (2003) A 600-year sedimentary record of flood events from two sub-alpine lakes (Schwendiseen, Northeastern Switzerland). Eclogae Geol Helv 96(Supplement 1):S49–S58Google Scholar
  18. Giovanoli F (1990) Horizontal transport and sedimentation by interflows and turbidity currents in Lake Geneva. In: Tilzer MM, Serruya C (eds) Large lakes: ecological structure and function. Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg, pp 175–195Google Scholar
  19. Girardclos S, Schmidt OT, Sturm M, Ariztegui D, Pugin A, Anselmetti FS (2007) The 1996 AD delta collapse and large turbidite in Lake Brienz. Mar Geol 241:137–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hajdas I, Ivy SD, Beer J, Bonani G, Imboden D, Lotter AF, Sturm M, Suter M (1993) AMS radiocarbon dating and varve chronology of Lake Soppensee – 6000 to 12000 14C years BP. Clim Dyn 9:107–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Irmler R, Daut G, Mäusbacher R (2006) A debris flow calendar derived from sediments of lake Lago di Braies (N. Italy). Geomorphology 77:69–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kochel RC, Baker VR (1982) Paleoflood hydrology. Science 215:353–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lamb MP, Mohrig D (2009) Do hyperpycnal-flow deposits record river-flood dynamics? Geology 37:1067–1070CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lambert A, Hsü KJ (1979) Non-annual cycles of varve-like sedimentation in Walensee, Switzerland. Sedimentology 26:453–461CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lamoureux S (2000) Five centuries of interannual sediment yield and rainfall-induced erosion in the Canadian High Arctic recorded in lacustrine varves. Water Resour Res 36:309–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Macklin MG, Lewin J (2003) River sediments, great floods and centennial-scale Holocene climate change. J Quaternary Sci 18:101–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mangili C, Brauer A, Moscariello A, Naumann R (2005) Microfacies of detrital event layers deposited in Quaternary varved lake sediments of the Piànico-Sèllere Basin (northern Italy). Sedimentology 52:927–943CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mazzucchi D, Spooner IS, Gilbert R, Osborn G (2003) Reconstruction of Holocene climate change using multiproxy analysis of sediments from Pyramid Lake, British Columbia, Canada. Arct Antarct Alp Res 35:520–529CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Meyers PA, Teranes JL (2001) Sediment organic matter. In: Last WM, Smol JP (eds) Tracking environmental change using lake sediments, vol 2, Physical and geochemical methods. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, pp 239–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mulder T, Chapron E (2011) Flood deposits in continental and marine environments: character and significance. In: Slatt RM, Zavala C (eds) Sediment transfer from shelf to deep water - Revisiting the delivery system: AAPG Studies in Geology 61:1–30Google Scholar
  31. Mulder T, Migeon S, Savoye B, Faugères J-C (2001) Inversely graded turbidite sequences in the deep Mediterranean: a record of deposits from flood-generated turbidity currents? Geo-Mar Lett 21:86–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mulder T, Syvitski JPM, Migeon S, Faugères J-C, Savoye B (2003) Marine hyperpycnal flows: initiation, behavior and related deposits. A review. Mar Pet Geol 20:861–882CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Nesje A, Dahl SO, Matthews JA, Berrisford MS (2001) A 4500-yr record of river floods obtained from a sediment core in Lake Atnsjoen, eastern Norway. J Paleolimnol 25:329–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Noren AJ, Bierman PR, Steig EJ, Lini A, Southon J (2002) Millennial-scale storminess variability in the northeastern United States during the Holocene epoch. Nature 419:821–824CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. O’Connor JE, Ely LL, Wohl EE, Stevens LE, Melis TS, Kale VS, Baker VR (1994) A 4500-year record of large floods on the Colorado River in the Grand-Canyon, Arizona. J Geol 102:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Osleger DA, Heyvaert AC, Stoner JS, Verosub KL (2009) Lacustrine turbidites as indicators of Holocene storminess and climate: Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada. J Paleolimnol 42:103–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Parris AS, Bierman PR, Noren AJ, Prins MA, Lini A (2010) Holocene paleostorms identified by particle size signatures in lake sediments from the northeastern United States. J Paleolimnol 43:29–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pfister C (2009) The “Disaster Gap” of the 20th century and the loss of traditional disaster memory. Gaia 18:239–246Google Scholar
  39. Revel-Rolland M, Arnaud F, Chapron E, Desmet M, Givelet N, Alibert C, McCulloch M (2005) Sr and Nd isotopes as tracers of clastic sources in Lake Le Bourget sediment (NW Alps, France) during the Little Ice Age: palaeohydrology implications. Chem Geol 224:183–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rodbell DT, Seltzer GO, Anderson DM, Abbott MB, Enfield DB, Newman JH (1999) An 15,000-year record of El Nino-driven alluviation in southwestern Ecuador. Science 283:516–520CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Schnellmann M, Anselmetti FS, Giardini D, McKenzie JA, Ward SN (2002) Prehistoric earthquake history revealed by lacustrine slump deposits. Geology 30:1131–1134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Schnellmann M, Anselmetti FS, Giardini D, McKenzie JA (2006) 15,000 years of mass-movement history in Lake Lucerne: implications for seismic and tsunami hazards. Eclogae Geol Helv 99:409–428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Schneuwly-Bollschweiler M, Stoffel M (2012) Dendrogeomorphology – tracking past events with tree rings. In: Schneuwly-Bollschweiler M, Stoffel M, Rudolf-Miklau M (eds) Dating torrential processes on fans and cones – methods and their application for hazard and risk assessment, Advances in global change research. Springer, Dordrecht/Heidelberg/London/New YorkGoogle Scholar
  44. Sheffer NA, Enzel Y, Benito G, Grodek T, Poart N, Lang M, Naulet R, Coeur D (2003) Paleofloods and historical floods of the Ardeche River, France. Water Resour Res 39(12):1376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Siegenthaler C, Sturm M (1991) Die Häufigkeit von Ablagerungen extremer Reuss-Hochwasser. Die Sedimentationsgeschichte im Urnersee seit dem Mittelalter. In: Ursachenanalyse der Hochwasser 1987 – Ergebnisse der Untersuchungen. Mitteilungen des Bundesamtes für Wasserwirtschaft, vol 4, Bern, pp 127–139Google Scholar
  46. Sletten K, Blikra LH, Ballantyne CK, Nesje A, Dahl SO (2003) Holocene debris flows recognized in a lacustrine sedimentary succession: sedimentology, chronostratigraphy and cause of triggering. The Holocene 13:907–920CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Stoffel M, Bollschweiler M (2008) Tree-ring analysis in natural hazards research – an overview. Nat Hazard Earth Syst Sci 8:187–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Strasser M, Anselmetti FS, Fäh D, Giardini D, Schnellmann M (2006) Magnitudes and source areas of large prehistoric northern Alpine earthquakes revealed by slope failures in lakes. Geology 34:1005–1008CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sturm M, Matter A (1978) Turbidites and varves in Lake Brienz (Switzerland): deposition of clastic detritus by density currents. Spec Publ Int Assoc Sedimentol 2:147–168Google Scholar
  50. Sturm M, Siegenthaler C, Pickrill RA (1995) Turbidites and ‘homogenites’ – a conceptual model of flood and slide deposits. In: Publication of IAS-16th regional meeting sedimentology, vol 22, Paris, p 140Google Scholar
  51. Theiler A (2003) Die Sedimente des Seeli (Seelisberg, Uri) – Starkniederschläge im Holozän. Unpublished diploma, Geological Institute, ETH ZurichGoogle Scholar
  52. Thevenon F, Anselmetti FS (2007) Charcoal and fly-ash particles from Lake Lucerne sediments (Central Switzerland) characterized by image analysis: anthropologic, stratigraphic and environmental implications. Quaternary Sci Rev 26:2631–2643CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Thorndycraft VR, Benito G (2006) Late Holocene fluvial chronology of Spain: the role of climatic variability and human impact. Catena 66:34–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Thorndycraft V, Hu Y, Oldfield F, Crooks PRJ, Appleby PG (1998) Individual flood events detected in the recent sediments of the Petit Lac d’Annecy, eastern France. The Holocene 8:741–746CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Thorndycraft VR, Benito G, Rico M, Sopena A, Sánchez-Moya Y, Casas A (2005) A long-term flood discharge record derived from slackwater flood deposits of the Llobregat River, NE Spain. J Hydrol 313:16–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. von Gunten L, Grosjean M, Beer J, Grob P, Morales A, Urrutia R (2009) Age modeling of young non-varved lake sediments: methods and limits. Examples from two lakes in Central Chile. J Paleolimnol 42:401–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wirth S (2008) Lake Thun sediment record: 300 years of human impact, flood events and subaquatic slides. Unpublished MSc thesis, Department of Earth Sciences, ETH Zurich, doi: 10.3929/ethz-a-005676930
  58. Wirth SB, Girardclos S, Rellstab C, Anselmetti FS (2011) The sedimentary response to a pioneer geo-engineering project: tracking the Kander River deviation in the sediments of Lake Thun (Switzerland). Sedimentology 58:1737–1761Google Scholar
  59. Wolfe BB, Hall RI, Last WM, Edwards TWD, English MC, Karst-Riddoch TL, Paterson A, Palmini R (2006) Reconstruction of multi-century flood histories from oxbow lake sediments, Peace-Athabasca Delta, Canada. Hydrol Process 20:4131–4153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Zolitschka B (2006) Varved lake sediments. In: Elias SA (ed) Encyclopedia of Quaternary science. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 3105–3114Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adrian Gilli
    • 1
  • Flavio S. Anselmetti
    • 2
    • 3
  • Lukas Glur
    • 2
  • Stefanie B. Wirth
    • 1
  1. 1.Geological InstituteETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Surface WatersEawagDübendorfSwitzerland
  3. 3.Institute of Geological SciencesUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations