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Alpine lake sediment records of the impact of glaciation and climate change on the biogeochemical cycling of soil nutrients

  • Gabriel M. Filippelli (a1), Catherine Souch (a2), Brian Menounos (a3), Sara Slater-Atwater (a1), A.J. Timothy Jull (a4) and Olav Slaymaker (a5)...

Lake sediment cores from the Coast Mountains of British Columbia were analyzed using chemical sequential extractions to partition the dominant geochemical fractions of phosphorus (P). The P fractions include mineral P (the original source of bioavailable P), occluded P (bound to soil oxides), and organic P (remains of organic matter). By comparing P fractions of soil and recent lake sediment samples, these fractions are shown to be a valid proxy for landscape-scale nutrient status. Changes in soil development for an alpine watershed (Lower Joffre Lake) are inferred from the P fractions in the basin's outlet lake sediments. Glacially sourced mineral P dominates at the base of the core, but several rapid shifts in P geochemistry are evident in the first ∼3000 yr of the record. The latter indicates an interval of early and rapid soil nutrient maturation from ∼9600 to 8500 cal yr BP and a significant influx of slope-derived material into Lower Joffre Lake. A substantial increase in mineral P occurs at ca. 8200 cal yr BP, consistent with the cold event in the vicinity of the North Atlantic at that time. The more recent record reveals a continual increase in the proportion of mineral P from glacial sources to the lake, indicating a trend toward cooler conditions in the Coast Mountains.

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Corresponding author. Fax: +1 317 278 2525. E-mail addresses: (G.M. Filippelli), (C. Souch).
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Quaternary Research
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