Geosphere-biosphere interactions are ubiquitous features of the Earth surface, yet the development of interactions between newly exposed lithologic surfaces and colonizing plants during primary succession after glaciation are lacking temporal detail. To assess the nature, rate, and magnitude of vegetation influence on parent material and sediment delivery, we analyzed ecosystem and geochemical proxies from lacustrine sediment cores at a grassland site and a forested site in the northern United States. Over time, terrigenous inputs declined at both sites, with increasing amounts of organic inputs toward present. The similarities between sites were striking given that the grassland sequence began in the Early Holocene, and the forested sequence began after the last glacial maximum. Multiple mechanisms of chemical weathering, hydrologic transport, and changes in source material potentially contribute to this pattern. Although there were strong links between vegetation composition and nitrogen cycling at each site, it appears that changes in forest type, or from oak woodland to grassland, did not exert a large influence on elemental (K, Ti, Si, Ca, Fe, Mn, and S) abundance in the sedimentary sequences. Rather, other factors in the catchment-lake system determined the temporal sequence of elemental abundance.
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© University of Washington. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2019.
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- Inorganic geochemistry
- North America
- Vegetation dynamics