Physical Limnology and Sediment Dynamics of Lago Argentino, the World's Largest Ice-Contact Lake

Maximillian S Van Wyk De Vries, Emi Ito, Mark Shapley, Guido Brignone, Matias Romero, Andrew D. Wickert, Louis H. Miller, Kelly R. MacGregor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Proglacial lakes, whose numbers have been growing around the world, may drive accelerated glacier retreat and provide valuable records of past glacier and climatic changes. Despite their importance, few studies have investigated the sedimentary properties and processes acting within large proglacial lakes. Lago Argentino (LArg) is a 1,500 km2 ice-contact lake on the eastern flank of the Southern Patagonian Icefield. Here, we describe the results from a detailed analysis of 47 sediment cores obtained throughout this lake basin, supplemented with remotely sensed data. We show that: (a) LArg exhibits a seasonal variation in sediment properties (varves); (b) varve formation results from three distinct processes, driven by seasonal changes in glacial sediment input, seasonal changes in fluvial sediment input, and seasonal variations in lake mixing; and (c) distance from glacier calving fronts provides the first-order control on sediment grain size and accumulation rate. Our findings highlight the exceptional preservation of annual laminations within proglacial lakes, their potential for reconstructing past glacier changes, and their relevance for forecasting future glacier–lake interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2022JF006598
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface
Volume127
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
MV was supported by a University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering Fellowship and a Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship. We acknowledge the critical role played by logistical and design expertise of Ryan O’Grady and Anders Noren of the CSD Facility in planning and field phases of this research. Kristina Brady Shannon, Jessica Heck, Alex Stone and Rob Brown seamlessly coordinated core processing and analytical activities at the CSD Facility. We thank Anastasia Fedotova, Cristina San Martín, Guillermo Tamburini‐Beliveau, Alexander Schmies and Shanti Penprase for their help with core recovery and processing, and all Spanish‐speaking team members for their critical contribution of language skills. Pedro Skvarca, Scientific Director of the Glaciarium Interpretive Center, provided important planning and logistical assistance during initial phases of work. We particularly thank Capitán Alejandro Jaimes for his expert handling of the MV Janet, and for sharing his incisive knowledge of Lago Argentino. We acknowledge Dr. Jenna Sutherland and two anonymous referees for constructive reviews which improved this manuscript. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. EAR‐1714614, coordinated by Lead PI Maria Beatrice Magnani.

Funding Information:
MV was supported by a University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering Fellowship and a Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship. We acknowledge the critical role played by logistical and design expertise of Ryan O’Grady and Anders Noren of the CSD Facility in planning and field phases of this research. Kristina Brady Shannon, Jessica Heck, Alex Stone and Rob Brown seamlessly coordinated core processing and analytical activities at the CSD Facility. We thank Anastasia Fedotova, Cristina San Martín, Guillermo Tamburini-Beliveau, Alexander Schmies and Shanti Penprase for their help with core recovery and processing, and all Spanish-speaking team members for their critical contribution of language skills. Pedro Skvarca, Scientific Director of the Glaciarium Interpretive Center, provided important planning and logistical assistance during initial phases of work. We particularly thank Capitán Alejandro Jaimes for his expert handling of the MV Janet, and for sharing his incisive knowledge of Lago Argentino. We acknowledge Dr. Jenna Sutherland and two anonymous referees for constructive reviews which improved this manuscript. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. EAR-1714614, coordinated by Lead PI Maria Beatrice Magnani.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022. The Authors.

Keywords

  • glacier–lake interaction
  • lake core
  • limnology
  • proglacial lake
  • sedimentology
  • varves

Continental Scientific Drilling Facility tags

  • GCO

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