Relationship of Mn-carbonates in varved lake-sediments to catchment vegetation in Big Watab Lake, MN, USA

Lora R. Stevens, Emi Ito, David E.L. Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Mn-carbonates are documented in the late-glacial varved sediments from Big Watab Lake, Minnesota, USA. The Mn-carbonate is authigenic and forms rims around contemporaneous epilimnetic calcite. Although such carbonates are found in minor amounts throughout the entire late-glacial sequence, significant quantities of Mn-carbonate are associated mainly with laminated intervals. Because of the suspected difference in isotopic fractionation between different carbonate minerals, the stable-isotopic compositions of bulk carbonate samples are used as a proxy for relative amounts of the Mn-carbonate in the sediment. High δ18O and low δ13 C values are associated with abundant Mn-carbonates. Low δ18O and high δ13C values are associated with only minor concentrations of Mn-carbonates. The oxygen-18 record is correlated with fluctuations in the vegetation assemblage based on pollen spectra using a multiple regression model with backward elimination. The proposed link between the sedimentary archive and local vegetation is the mediation of advective mixing in the lake by forest composition. In this model, periods of forest closure resulted in a well-stratified water column that was anoxic at the sediment/water interface, permitting the formation of authigenic Mn-carbonates. Openings of Artemisia in the forest allowed wind shear to mix oxygen to depth, causing bioturbation of the laminations and preventing the formation of Mn-carbonate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-211
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Paleolimnology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000


  • Anoxia
  • Diagenesis
  • Mixing
  • Mn-carbonate
  • Oxygen- 18
  • Pollen
  • Varves
  • Wind

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