Lake sediments around the Antarctic Peninsula : archives of climatic and environmental changes

Abstract: Lakes and lake sediments from four areas around the Antarctic Peninsula are described.The concentrations of trace metals in sediment are found to be a useful tool in distinguishing between the different sedimentary phases during a transition from marine to limnic environment.A tephrochronology based on Deception Island tephra is developed, and used to cross date sediments from different lakes in order to overcome the radiocarbon dating problem of the area.The fluctuating concentrations of copper and phosphorus from penguin guano in the sediment of Lake Boeckella are used as a proxy for the penguin inpact on the sediment, and the size of the penguin rookery on the shores of the lake. Anthropogenic activities in the area, as well as climatic changes are discussed in relation to the rookery size.A radiocarbon dating model developed for the sediment of Lake Boeckella showed that the radiocarbon correction factor in the sediment depends on the amount and apparent age of the penguin guano washed down into the lake, and the amount of particulate carbon from the watershed present in the sediment. Neither the "old" meltwater from the glaciers nor dissolved carbonates contributes significantly to the correction factor. The model is used to achieve more accurate radiocarbon dates of the Lake Boeckella sediment. This model, or a modified version, may contribute to a higher dating accuracy and a better understanding of the dating problems in Antarctica.Deglaciation dates, as well as data on the climatic and environmental history of Byers Peninsula on Livingston Island, South Shetland Islands, of Hope Bay, Antarctic Peninsula and of Hidden Lake area, James Ross Island are given.