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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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The processes responsible for large accumulation of siliceous shells of a single-cell algae – diatoms – in lake deposits are poorly understood. We studied silicon cycling of a high-latitude lake through water, radon, silicon and isotope balances. Results showed that groundwater brings 3 times more water and dissolved silicon than the stream inlet. We demonstrate that groundwater discharge and slow sediment deposition drive the high diatom accumulation during the past century in the studied lake.
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-441
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-441

  11 Dec 2020

11 Dec 2020

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Modern silicon dynamics of a small high-latitude subarctic lake

Petra Zahajská1,5, Carolina Olid2, Johanna Stadmark1, Sherilyn C. Fritz3, Sophie Opfergelt4, and Daniel J. Conley1 Petra Zahajská et al.
  • 1Department of Geology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
  • 2Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
  • 3Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and School of Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
  • 4Earth and Life Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
  • 5Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

Abstract. High biogenic silica (BSi) concentration occurs sporadically in lake sediments throughout the world, however, the processes leading to high BSi concentrations varies. While BSi formation and preservation is expected to occur in silica-rich environments with high dissolved silicon (DSi) concentrations such as volcanic and hydrothermal inputs, the factors and mechanisms explaining high DSi and BSi concentrations in lakes remain unclear. We explored the factors responsible for the high BSi concentration in sediments of a small, high-latitude subarctic lake (Lake 850). To do this, we combined measurements of variations in stream discharges, DSi concentrations and stable Si isotopes in both lake and stream water with measurements of BSi content in lake sediments. Water, radon, and Si mass balances revealed the importance of groundwater discharge as a main source of DSi to the lake, with groundwater-derived DSi inputs 3 times higher than those from ephemeral stream inlets. After including all external DSi sources (i.e., inlets and groundwater discharge) and estimating the total BSi accumulation in the sediment, we show that diatom production consumes up to 79 % of total DSi input. Additionally, low sediment accumulation rates were observed based on the dated core. Our findings thus demonstrate that groundwater discharge and low mass accumulation rate can account for the high BSi accumulation during the last 150 cal. yr BP. Globally, lakes have been estimated to retain one fifth of the annual DSi delivery into the ocean. Well constrained lake mass balances, such as presented here, bring clarity to those estimates of the terrestrial Si cycle sinks.

Petra Zahajská et al.

 
Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
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Petra Zahajská et al.

Petra Zahajská et al.

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Short summary
The processes responsible for large accumulation of siliceous shells of a single-cell algae – diatoms – in lake deposits are poorly understood. We studied silicon cycling of a high-latitude lake through water, radon, silicon and isotope balances. Results showed that groundwater brings 3 times more water and dissolved silicon than the stream inlet. We demonstrate that groundwater discharge and slow sediment deposition drive the high diatom accumulation during the past century in the studied lake.
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