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Inorganic carbon-isotope distribution and budget in the Lake Hoare and Lake Fryxell basins, Taylor Valley, Antarctica

  • Klaus Neumann (a1), W. Berry Lyons and David J. Des Marais (a2)

Abstract

One of the unusual features of Lakes Fryxell and Hnare in Taylor Valley, southern Victoria Land, Antarctica, is their perennial ice cover. This ice cover limits gas exchange between the atmosphere and the lake water, and causesa very stable stratification of the lakes. We analyzed a series of water samples from profiles of these lakes and their tributaries for δ13C of the dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) in order to qualify the carbon flux from the streams into the lakes, and to investigate the carbon cycling with in the lakes. Isotopic values in the uppermost waters (δ13C = +l.3‰ to 5.3‰ in Lake Hoare, +0.4‰ to +3.0‰ in Lake Fryxell) are close to the carbon-isotope values encountered in the streams feeding Lake Fryxell, but distinctively heavier than in streams feeding Lake Hoare (δ13C= — 2.3%n to 1.4%). These ratios are much heavier than ratios found in the moat that forms around the lakes injanuary February C = -10.1%). in the oxic photic zones of the lakes, photosynthesis clearly influences the isotopic composition, with layers of high productivity having enriched carbon-isotope signatures δ13C= +2.7‰ to +6.1‰). in both lakes, the isotopic values become lighter with depth, reaching minima of 3.2‰ and 4.0% in Lakes Fryxell and Hoare, respectively. These minima are caused by the microbial remineralization of isotopically light organic carbon. We present DIC flux calculations that help to interpret the isotopic distribution. For example, in Lake Hoare the higher utilization of CO2aq, and a substantially smaller inflow of CO2 from streams cause the heavier observed isotopic ratios. Differences in the hydrology and stream morphologies of the tributaries also greatly influence the carbon budgets of the basins.

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Inorganic carbon-isotope distribution and budget in the Lake Hoare and Lake Fryxell basins, Taylor Valley, Antarctica

  • Klaus Neumann (a1), W. Berry Lyons and David J. Des Marais (a2)

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