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Seasonal variability in turbidity currents in Lake Ohau, New Zealand, and their influence on sedimentation

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 12:12 authored by Remo Cossu, Alexander Forrest, Roop, H, Dunbar, G, Vandergoes, M, Levy, R, Stumpner, P, Schladow, G
Layers of sediment that are deposited on the floor of Lake Ohau, New Zealand offer a means to reconstruct past climate conditions in the Southern Hemisphere at sub-decadal and annual resolution. A robust understanding of the modern physical processes that control the influx and dispersal of sediment in the lake is required to reconstruct climate from these sedimentary archives. In this study, water temperature and velocity measurements collected between 2012/2013 were analyzed to determine the primary physical processes that influence sediment transport in the lake. Sediment input from river inflow occurs throughout the year but exhibits strong seasonal variation. Large inflow events (Q > 500 m3 s-1) that follow strong summer rainstorms trigger high-concentration turbidity currents, which are the main agents for sediment delivery and deposition. During winter, smaller turbidity currents also occur after rain events and contribute to annual sediment accumulation. In addition, large internal waves were observed during the summer and may influence sedimentation. In conclusion, several processes including river inflow, internal waves and convectively driven flows control sediment deposition and accumulation in the Lake Ohau system. We utilize these observations to establish a conceptual model to explain the observed infill stratigraphy in Lake Ohau and guide interpretation of the longer sedimentary record.


Publication title

Marine and Freshwater Research










Australian Maritime College


CSIRO Publishing

Place of publication

150 Oxford St, Po Box 1139, Collingwood, Australia, Victoria, 3066

Rights statement

Copyright 2015 CSIRO

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Other environmental management not elsewhere classified

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