Post-Glacial Sedimentation in Ossipee Lake, New Hampshire
Land cover and climate changes, attributed to natural and anthropogenic forcings, cause deviations in geomorphic processes that act to deliver sediment from watersheds to lakes. In New England, contradictory evidence exists as to the influence of deforestation associated with EuroAmerican settlement and major flood events on watershed erosion rates over the past ~250 years. Through combining sediment core analysis from Ossipee Lake, New Hampshire with geomorphic analysis of the Ossipee Lake watershed, this study quantifies Holocene through Anthropocene watershed erosion rates, and assesses variations in rates in relation to short-term historic events such as major storm events or deforestation, and long-term variations related to natural climate variability and post-glacial landscape evolution. An 8.63 m core was collected and spans the entire period from deglaciation to present. Bulk composition and age-depth modeling, utilizing both short-lived radioisotopes and radiocarbon dating, are used to quantify changes in deposition and inferred erosion rates over time. Additional insight on sedimentary processes is provided by measurements of magnetic susceptibility and bulk geochemistry. Lake-sediment data suggests clastic sediment mass accumulation rates vary between 0.0032 to 0.5870 g/cm2/yr, with deposits of increased terrestrially derived sediment focused between ~8500 to 7800, ~6500 to 2500, and 1600 cal yr BP to present. Geomorphic analysis is used to identify regions within the watershed that act to deliver sediment to Ossipee Lake. Potential sources of sediment supply include loose, unconsolidated proglacial deposits near Ossipee Lake that transition to primarily till in upland areas. Calculated bed shear stress along rivers highlights areas in the watershed capable of transporting sediment and areas that can serve as traps thus limiting sediment delivery to Ossipee Lake.