The movement of a thermocline can drive strong benthic currents, which can transport nutrients from sediments into the water column via pore water advection or sediment resuspension. We report field observations of near-shore benthic velocities and offshore thermocline movements in Lake Opeongo; a medium-sized lake typical of the Canadian Shield. We find that during large thermocline deflections there are sustained currents >6 cm s−1 in the near-shore benthic layer. The mean current was 1.75 cm s−1 and the maximum current is 10.3 cm s−1. At our site, the net transport is offshore even though the thermocline oscillates up and down so that currents are sometimes upslope and inshore. We estimate the excursion length of a water parcel over the 31-day deployment period, and determine that the mean daily excursion length is 630 m, with the maximum value being 2 km offshore. Given that the south arm of Lake Opeongo is 6 km long and 0.6 km wide, the predicted excursion length of water implies that there is strong connectivity between the sediment in the littoral zone, and the metalimnetic waters offshore. As Lake Opeongo is oligotrophic, any nutrient pulses from the sediment will be quickly taken up by the plankton.
An oscillating bottom boundary layer connects the littoral and pelagic regions of Lake Opeongo, Canada
Melissa Anne Coman, Mathew Graeme Wells; An oscillating bottom boundary layer connects the littoral and pelagic regions of Lake Opeongo, Canada. Water Quality Research Journal 1 August 2012; 47 (3-4): 215–226. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wqrjc.2012.039
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