Postglacial paleoecology and effects of European settlement on the environment of Lake Hunger and Lake Lisgar, Southwestern Ontario /
Winn, Ronald Frederick.
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This investigation has three purposes I to make a comparative chemical study on sediment cores collected for Lake Lisgar (man-made lake in an urban center) and Lake Hunger (natural basin in a rural community) encompassing the time since European settlement I to determine the postglacial chemical history of Lake Hunger, and to determine the vegetational history of the Lake Hunger area from postglacial time to the present. The minus 80 mesh fraction of 108 soil samples and 18 stream sediment samples collected in the vicinity of Lakes' Lisgar and Hunger were analyzed for cold hydrochloric acid soluble lead, zinc, nickel, cobalt, copper, aluminum, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese. Lacustrine sediments from 5 boreholes in the Lake Lisgar basin were collected. Boreholes 1, 2, 3, and 4 were analyzed for palynological and chemical information and Borehole 5 was subjected to pollen and ostracode analysis. Lacustrine sediments from 6 boreholes in the Lake Hunger basin were collected. Palyno- -logical and chemical analysis were performed on Boreholes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 and Borehole 5 was analyzed for pollen. In addition, radiocarbon dates were obtained on sediment samples from Boreholes 4 and 5. A total of 8 surface samples were collected from the margins of the Lake Hunger basin and these were chemically analyzed in the laboratory. All of the lacustrine sediments were ashed and analyzed for cold hydrochloric acid soluble lead, zinc, nickel, cobalt, copper, aluminum, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese using a Perkin Elmer 40) Atomic Absorption spectrophotometer. The results . obtained for the 12 elements were expressed as parts per million in dry sediments. It was found that man's influence on the element distribution patterns in the sediments of Lake Lisgar appeared to be related to his urbanizing developments within the lake vicinity, whereas, the rural developments in the vicinity of lake Hunger appeared to have had little effect on the element distribution patterns in the lake sediments. The distribution patterns of lead, zinc, nickel, cobalt, aluminum, magnesium, sodium and potassium are similar to the % ash curve throughout postglacial time indicating that the rate of erosion in the drainage basin is the main factor which controls the concentration of these elements in the sediments of Lake Hunger. The vegetational history, from palynological analysis, of Lake Hunger from postglacial time to the present includes the following stages: tundra, open spruce forest, closed boreal forest, deciduous forest and the trend towards the re-establishment of pine following the clearing of land and the subsequent settlement of the Lake Hunger area by European settlers. The concentrations of some elements (cobalt, nickel, iron, manganese, calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium) in the sediments of Lake Hunger appears to be higher during pre-cultural compared to post-cultural times. At least one complete postglacial record of the chemical history within a lake basin is necessary in order to accurately assess man's effects on his environment.