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The dynamics of iron and manganese in the surface sediments of a seasonally anoxic lake

The dynamics of iron and manganese in the surface sediments of a seasonally anoxic lake

Archiv fur Hydrobiologie, Supplementband 72(2): 135-165

ISSN/ISBN: 0365-284X

65 cores were sampled at 17 sites in Esthwaite Water (U.K.) during the period September, 1979-July, 1982. The sediments were sub-sampled under nitrogen at 1 cm intervals through the top 5 or 10 cm and then analysed for total dissolved (< 0.4 .mu.m) and 0.5 M HCI labile Fe and Mn. The distributions of dissolved and labile Fe and Mn exhibit significant and consistent local, areal and seasonal variations. There is a general fractionation of Fe and Mn from deep-water to shallow-water sediments, the process occurring to a greater extent in the case of Mn. Hypolimnetic sediments normally exhibit high Mn remobilization rates throughout the year in spite of a well-mixed, oxygen saturated water column in winter. The associated loss of Mn is sometimes sufficiently great for Mn oxyhydroxide availability to become a critical limiting factor in determining dissolved Mn concentrations in the sediments. This is particularly evident in late summer, at the height of anoxicity in the lake, when the unusual situation occurs of Mn diffusing into the sediments. In comparison, Fe shows a more marked and straightforward seasonal pattern of behaviour in the hypolimnetic sediments. A low level of remobilization occurs during the winter period, initiated by autumnal overturn of the water column, while a period of greatly enhanced remobilization is initiated by deposition of the spring diatom bloom. Diffusion of Fe invariably occurs from the sediments into the water column. Remobilization in the hypolimnetic sediments occurs at or sufficiently close to the sediment surface that concentration profiles of dissolved Fe and Mn are either constant with depth or downward decreasing. Fe and Mn are largely retained in the shallow-water sediments due to lesser rates of remobilization, which probably occurs mainly in sub-surface sediments. Overall budget considerations generally support the views expressed by Davison et al (1981, 1982 a), although our shallow-water sediment data suggest that a somewhat greater proportion (9-26%) of the Mn loading to the lake is retained in the sediments compared to the previous estimate of < 10%.

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