Articles | Volume 7, issue 11
10 Nov 2010
 | 10 Nov 2010

Stratigraphic analysis of lake level fluctuations in Lake Ohrid: an integration of high resolution hydro-acoustic data and sediment cores

K. Lindhorst, H. Vogel, S. Krastel, B. Wagner, A. Hilgers, A. Zander, T. Schwenk, M. Wessels, and G. Daut

Abstract. Ancient Lake Ohrid is a steep-sided, oligotrophic, karst lake that was tectonically formed most likely within the Pliocene and often referred to as a hotspot of endemic biodiversity. This study aims on tracing significant lake level fluctuations at Lake Ohrid using high-resolution acoustic data in combination with lithological, geochemical, and chronological information from two sediment cores recovered from sub-aquatic terrace levels at ca. 32 and 60 m water depth. According to our data, significant lake level fluctuations with prominent lowstands of ca. 60 and 35 m below the present water level occurred during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 6 and MIS 5, respectively. The effect of these lowstands on biodiversity in most coastal parts of the lake is negligible, due to only small changes in lake surface area, coastline, and habitat. In contrast, biodiversity in shallower areas was more severely affected due to disconnection of today sub-lacustrine springs from the main water body. Multichannel seismic data from deeper parts of the lake clearly image several clinoform structures stacked on top of each other. These stacked clinoforms indicate significantly lower lake levels prior to MIS 6 and a stepwise rise of water level with intermittent stillstands since its existence as water-filled body, which might have caused enhanced expansion of endemic species within Lake Ohrid.

Final-revised paper