A Sediment Budget for Southern Lake-Michigan - Source and Sink Models for Different Time Intervals

TitleA Sediment Budget for Southern Lake-Michigan - Source and Sink Models for Different Time Intervals
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1994
AuthorsColman, SM, Foster, DS
JournalJournal of Great Lakes Research
Date Published1994
ISBN Number0380-1330
Keywordsdeposition, erosion, Holocene, lake michigan, sediment budget, sediments

We have constructed a sediment budget for the southern Lake Michigan basin for sand and for mud during three time periods: the past 100, 5,000, and 10,000 years. For the modern (100-year) sediment budget, accountable sediment sources add up to 93 percent of the calculated sinks. The mud budget has a source deficit of about 40%, probably due to errors in mu&sand ratios and (or) to other sources not included in our model, especially erosion of the lake floor, which accompanies bluff recession. Two terms dominate the modem sediment-budget equation: (1) bluff erosion, which is an order of magnitude larger than either rivers or aerosols as a source, and (2) deposition in the deep basin, which is more than two orders of magnitude greater as a sink than suspended sediment transport out of the basin. About half of the sand derived from bluff erosion is deposited in the deep lake; the other half must be deposited in nearshore sand bodies, beaches, and dunes. Despite the uncertainties in our estimates of sediment sources and sinks, the attempt to reconstruct sediment budgets for time intervals of 100, 5,000, and 10,000 years leads to important insights about erosion and sedimentation processes. Bluff erosion is the dominant source of both sand and mud in the basin. The deep lake floor is the primary sink for mud, whereas both the deep lake and nearshore areas are important sinks for sand. On a long-term basis, rates of bluff erosion have progressively decreased and are apparently independent of anthropogenic effects. Rates of sediment accumulation in the lake basin mirror the decrease in rates of bluff erosion for prehistoric time, but have increased markedly since human settlement, probably because of anthropogenic effects on river and aerosolic inputs.