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Stable oxygen and carbon isotopes of carbonates in lake sediments as a paleoflood proxy

Lucas Kaempf, Birgit Plessen, Stefan Lauterbach, Carla Nantke, Hanno Meyer, Bernhard Chapligin and Achim Brauer
Stable oxygen and carbon isotopes of carbonates in lake sediments as a paleoflood proxy
Geology (Boulder) (October 2019) 48 (1): 3-7


Lake sediments are increasingly explored as reliable paleoflood archives. In addition to established flood proxies including detrital layer thickness, chemical composition, and grain size, we explore stable oxygen and carbon isotope data as paleoflood proxies for lakes in catchments with carbonate bedrock geology. In a case study from Lake Mondsee (Austria), we integrate high-resolution sediment trapping at a proximal and a distal location and stable isotope analyses of varved lake sediments to investigate flood-triggered detrital sediment flux. First, we demonstrate a relation between runoff, detrital sediment flux, and isotope values in the sediment trap record covering the period 2011-2013 CE including 22 events with daily (hourly) peak runoff ranging from 10 (24) m (super 3) s (super -1) to 79 (110) m (super 3) s (super -1) . The three- to ten-fold lower flood-triggered detrital sediment deposition in the distal trap is well reflected by attenuated peaks in the stable isotope values of trapped sediments. Next, we show that all nine flood-triggered detrital layers deposited in a sediment record from 1988 to 2013 have elevated isotope values compared with endogenic calcite. In addition, even two runoff events that did not cause the deposition of visible detrital layers are distinguished by higher isotope values. Empirical thresholds in the isotope data allow estimation of magnitudes of the majority of floods, although in some cases flood magnitudes are overestimated because local effects can result in too-high isotope values. Hence we present a proof of concept for stable isotopes as reliable tool for reconstructing flood frequency and, although with some limitations, even for flood magnitudes.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 48
Serial Issue: 1
Title: Stable oxygen and carbon isotopes of carbonates in lake sediments as a paleoflood proxy
Affiliation: German Research Centre for Geosciences, Climate Dynamics and Landscape Evolution Section, Potsdam, Germany
Pages: 3-7
Published: 20191016
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 26
Accession Number: 2019-095291
Categories: Quaternary geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: GSA Data Repository item 2020001
Illustration Description: illus. incl. geol. sketch map
N47°49'00" - N47°49'00", E13°22'60" - E13°22'60"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Kiel, DEU, GermanyLund University, SWE, SwedenAlfred Wegener Institute, DEU, Germany
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2020, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201950
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