Tracing of the Rhône River, wastewater, and mixing within Lake Geneva : stable isotope compositions of water and dissolved inorganic carbon


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PhD thesis: a PhD thesis.
Tracing of the Rhône River, wastewater, and mixing within Lake Geneva : stable isotope compositions of water and dissolved inorganic carbon
Halder J.
Vennemann  T.
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Université de Lausanne, Faculté des géosciences et de l'environnement
Faculté des géosciences et de l'environnementUniversité de LausanneGéopolisCH-1015 LausanneSUISSE
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This study presents an evaluation of the stable isotopic composition of water (hydrogen and oxygen) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) of Lake Geneva, a deep, peri-alpine lake situated at the border between Switzerland and France. The research goal is to apply vertical and seasonal variations of the isotope compositions to evaluate mixing processes of pollutants, nutrients and oxygen.
Depth profiles were sampled at different locations throughout Lake Geneva on a monthly and seasonal basis over the course of three years (2009-2011). The results of the oxygen isotopic composition indicate a Rhône River interflow, which can be traced for about 55 km throughout the lake during summer. The Rhône River interflow is 7 to 15 m thick and the molar fraction of Rhône water is estimated to amount up to 37 %. Calculated density of the water and measured isotopic compositions demonstrate that the interflow depth changes in conjunction with the density gradient in the water column during fall.
Partial pressure of CO2 indicates that the epilimnion is taking up CO2 from the atmosphere between spring and fall. The epilimnion is most enriched in 13CDIC in September and a progressive depletion of 13CDIC can be observed in the metalimnion from spring to late fall. This stratification is dependent on the local density stratification and the results demonstrate that parameters, which are indicating photosynthesis, are not necessarily linked to δ13CDIC values. In addition, the amount of primary production shows a strong discrepancy between summer 2009 and 2010, but δ13CDIC values of the epilimnion and metalimnion do not indicate variations. In the hypolimnion of the deep lake δ13CDIC values are constant and the progressive depletion allows tracing remineralization processes.
The combination of stable carbon and oxygen isotopic compositions allows furthermore tracing Rhône River water fractions, as well as wastewater, stormwater and anthropogenic induced carbon in the water column of the shallow Bay of Vidy. In combination with the results of measured micropollutants, the study underlines that concentrations of certain substances may be related to the Rhône River interflow and/or remineralization of particulate organic carbon. Water quality monitoring and research should therefore be extended to the metalimnion as well as sediment water interface.
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04/06/2013 11:43
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20/08/2019 16:22
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