Paleolimnological investigations of anthropogenic environmental change in Lake Tanganyika: VII. Carbonate isotope geochemistry as a record of riverine runoff View Full Text


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Article Info

DATE

2005-07

AUTHORS

David L. Dettman, Manuel R. Palacios-Fest, Hudson H. Nkotagu, Andrew S. Cohen

ABSTRACT

Evaporation dominates the removal of water from Lake Tanganyika, and therefore the oxygen isotope composition of lake water has become very positive in comparison to the waters entering the lake. The surface water in Lake Tanganyika has remained relatively unchanged over the last 30 years with a seasonal range of +3.2 to +3.5‰ VSMOW. Water from small rivers entering the lake seems to have a δ18O value between −3.5 and −4.0‰, based on scattered measurements. The two largest catchments emptying into the lake deliver water that has a δ18O value between these two extremes. This large contrast is the basis of a model presented here that attempts to reconstruct the history of runoff intensity based on the δ18O of carbonate shells from Lake Tanganyika cores. In order to use biogenic carbonates to monitor changes in the δ18O of mixing-zone water, however, the oxygen isotope fractionation between water and shell carbonate must be well understood. The relatively invariant environmental conditions of the lake allow us to constrain the fractionation of both oxygen and carbon isotope ratios. Although molluskan aragonitic shell δ18O values are in agreement with published mineral-water fractionations, ostracode calcite is ∼1.2‰ more positive than that of inorganic calcite precipitated under similar conditions. Ostracode shell δ18O data from two cores from central Lake Tanganyika suggest that runoff decreased in the first half of this millennium and has increased in the last century. This conclusion is poorly constrained, however, and much more work needs to be done on stable isotope variation in both the waters and carbonates of Lake Tanganyika. We also compared the δ13C of shells against predicted values based solely on the δ13C of lake water dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). The ostracode Mecynocypria opaca is the only ostracode or mollusk that falls within the predicted range. This suggests that M. opaca has potential for reconstructing the carbon isotope ratio of DIC in Lake Tanganyika, and may be a useful tool in the study of the history of the lake’s productivity and carbon cycle. More... »

PAGES

93-105

References to SciGraph publications

  • 2005-07. Paleolimnological investigations of anthropogenic environmental change in Lake Tanganyika: III. Physical stratigraphy and charcoal analysis in JOURNAL OF PALEOLIMNOLOGY
  • 2005-07. Paleolimnological investigations of anthropogenic change in Lake Tanganyika: VIII. Hydrological evaluation of two contrasting watersheds of the Lake Tanganyika catchment in JOURNAL OF PALEOLIMNOLOGY
  • 1986-04. Contribution of metabolic carbon to mollusc and barnacle shell carbonate in NATURE
  • 2005-07. Paleolimnological investigations of anthropogenic environmental change in Lake Tanganyika: IX. Summary of paleorecords of environmental change and catchment deforestation at Lake Tanganyika and impacts on the Lake Tanganyika ecosystem in JOURNAL OF PALEOLIMNOLOGY
  • 1999-01. Palaeoclimatic implications of isotopic data from modern and early Holocene shells of the freshwater snail Melanoides tuberculata, from lakes in the Ethiopian Rift Valley in JOURNAL OF PALEOLIMNOLOGY
  • 1999-01. Within-basin profile variability and cross-correlation of lake sediment cores using the spheroidal carbonaceous particle record in JOURNAL OF PALEOLIMNOLOGY
  • 2003-12. Sub-equilibrium oxygen-18 and carbon-13 levels in biological carbonates: carbonate and kinetic models in CORAL REEFS
  • 1982-02. Measurement of calcium carbonate deposition in molluscs by controlled etching of radioactively labeled shells in MARINE BIOLOGY
  • 1999-10. Ostracode stratigraphy and paleoecology from surficial sediments of Lake Tanganyika, Africa in JOURNAL OF PALEOLIMNOLOGY
  • 2005-07. Paleolimnological investigations of anthropogenic environmental change in Lake Tanganyika: I. An introduction to the project in JOURNAL OF PALEOLIMNOLOGY
  • 2005-07. Paleolimnological investigations of anthropogenic environmental change in Lake Tanganyika: II. Geochronologies and mass sedimentation rates based on 14C and 210Pb data in JOURNAL OF PALEOLIMNOLOGY
  • 2005-07. Paleolimnological investigations of anthropogenic environmental change in Lake Tanganyika: IV. Lacustrine paleoecology in JOURNAL OF PALEOLIMNOLOGY
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    32 schema:description Evaporation dominates the removal of water from Lake Tanganyika, and therefore the oxygen isotope composition of lake water has become very positive in comparison to the waters entering the lake. The surface water in Lake Tanganyika has remained relatively unchanged over the last 30 years with a seasonal range of +3.2 to +3.5‰ VSMOW. Water from small rivers entering the lake seems to have a δ18O value between −3.5 and −4.0‰, based on scattered measurements. The two largest catchments emptying into the lake deliver water that has a δ18O value between these two extremes. This large contrast is the basis of a model presented here that attempts to reconstruct the history of runoff intensity based on the δ18O of carbonate shells from Lake Tanganyika cores. In order to use biogenic carbonates to monitor changes in the δ18O of mixing-zone water, however, the oxygen isotope fractionation between water and shell carbonate must be well understood. The relatively invariant environmental conditions of the lake allow us to constrain the fractionation of both oxygen and carbon isotope ratios. Although molluskan aragonitic shell δ18O values are in agreement with published mineral-water fractionations, ostracode calcite is ∼1.2‰ more positive than that of inorganic calcite precipitated under similar conditions. Ostracode shell δ18O data from two cores from central Lake Tanganyika suggest that runoff decreased in the first half of this millennium and has increased in the last century. This conclusion is poorly constrained, however, and much more work needs to be done on stable isotope variation in both the waters and carbonates of Lake Tanganyika. We also compared the δ13C of shells against predicted values based solely on the δ13C of lake water dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). The ostracode Mecynocypria opaca is the only ostracode or mollusk that falls within the predicted range. This suggests that M. opaca has potential for reconstructing the carbon isotope ratio of DIC in Lake Tanganyika, and may be a useful tool in the study of the history of the lake’s productivity and carbon cycle.
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