TREC - Lake Studies

Lakes provide important records of both natural and anthropogenic change for a variety of reasons.

  • The lake, particularly if it has a deep central basin, can accumulate sediment, thereby yielding a continuous geologic record.  Continuous geologic records are often difficult to obtain on continents because much of the land surface is undergoing erosion or only episodic deposition.
  • Some lakes rapidly accumulate sediment that is rich in organic matter suitable for radiocarbon dating.  Such lakes allow a well-dated, high-resolution record to be obtained.
  • The sediment particles that accumulate within a lake have both autochthonous (e.g., diatoms produced within the lake itself) and allochthonous (e.g., wind blown dust from outside the lake) origins.

Therefore lake sediments can provide a record of both the lacustrine and watershed ecosystem responses to natural and anthropogenic change.

Faculty and students in the TREC program study both ancient and modern lakes from around the world because of the wealth of information contained within lacustrine sediment sequences.  Several examples of lake research are shown below that illustrate the wide range of lake types and scientific questions that are being addressed.  Lakes under study include:

  • Lake Baikal, Russia
  • Lake Bosumtwi, Ghana
  • Lakes Dood, Telmen and Ugiy, Mongolia
  • Lake Erie, Portage Lake, Silver Lake and Summit Lake, Ohio