The 20th century whole-basin trophic history of an inter-drumlin lake in an agricultural catchment

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Eight 1-m sediment cores were extracted from across the basin of Friary Lough, a 5.4-ha eutrophic lake in a wholly grassland agricultural catchment in Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Sedimentary TP, diatom inferred TP, Ca, Na, Fe, Mn, loss-on-ignition (LOI), dry weight and density were determined in the core profiles. Core dating and correlation gave a Pb-210, Cs-137 and Am-241 chronology from 1906 to 1995 and enabled a whole-basin estimate of chemical and sediment accumulation rate over the 20th Century. The major changes for all parameters occurred after c. 1946. Sediment accumulation rate was most influenced by organic matter accumulations, probably of planktonic origin, and increasing after c. 1946. Inorganic sediment accumulation rate was found to be largely unchanging through the century at 10 t km(-2) yr(-1) when expressed as catchment exports. All chemical accumulation rate changes occurred after c. 1946. Total phosphor-us accumulation rate, however, was found to be the only chemical to be increasing throughout the epilimnion and hypolimnion areas of the sedimentary basin at an average of 22.5 mg m(-2) yr(-1) between 1946 and 1995. The other chemical parameters showed increasing accumulation rates after c. 1946 in the epilimnion part of the basin only. Interpreted in terms of whole-basin sedimentation and catchment export processes over time, it is suggested that diffuse TP inputs are independent of sediment inputs. This corresponds to hydrochemical models that suggest soluble P as the primary fraction that is lost from grassland catchments. The increase in sedimentary TP accumulation rate, and DI-TP concentration, are also explained with regard to current models that suggest increases in runoff P concentrations from elevated soil P concentrations. Increases in eplimnion chemical and sediment accumulation rate after c. 1946 may be due to local erosion that has limited impact on take basin sedimentation. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-173
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Oct 2002


  • phosphorus
  • lake sediments
  • Eutrophication


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