Depositional regimes and areal continuity of sedimentation in a montane lake basin, British Columbia, Canada

Erik Schiefer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Spatially variable sedimentation patterns are described for a small montane lake in southwestern British Columbia through the analysis of contemporary (20th century) varve sequences recovered from a high-density sediment coring program. Average, moderate, extreme, and localized depositional regimes, resolved at decadal to intra-annual scales, are differentiated for the Green Lake system from the stratigraphic record based on the volume and areal extent of the associated deposits. Average-regime sedimentation is mediated by the reliable annual freshet for the catchment. Moderate-regime events of the contemporary period (1930-2000) include periods of rapid glacial recession, extreme late-summer and autumn rainstorm-generated floods, and unusual snowmelt conditions. Only exceptional rainstorm events have led to extreme-regime sedimentation in the lake basin. Spatial sedimentation patterns are quantified by empirically derived surface models. Systematic differences are observed between both moderate and extreme sediment delivery events and the defined average-regime model. Substantial differences are observed between average and extreme regimes because of associated changes in sediment bypassing effects, intermediate sub-basin trapping, and sediment focusing mechanisms. Localized deposits coincide with isolated winter rainstorms in the region and anthropogenic disturbances along lake shorelines. Results indicate that the assumption of areal continuity in lacustrine sedimentation is not always appropriate for making comparisons between the identified depositional regimes. Sediment sampling programs that do not capture these spatially fluctuating sedimentation patterns may lead to biased accumulation chronologies and erroneous paleoenvironmental assessments of important hydroclimatic events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)617-628
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Paleolimnology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • Areal continuity
  • Extreme events
  • Lake sediments
  • Spatial variability
  • Varves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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