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    Biogeosciences

    201504201504

    Biogeochemistry and limnology in Antarctic subglacial weathering: molecular evidence of the linkage between subglacial silica input and primary producers in a perennially ice-covered lake

    Takano Y, Kojima H, Takeda E, Yokoyama Y, Fukui M

    Antarctic ice sheet, Subglacial biogeochemistry, Subglacial limnology, Sedimentary record, Siliceous primary producer

    (a) Lake Maruwan, a perennially ice-covered glacial lake at the Rundvågshetta on the Soya Coast of Lützow-Holm Bay (LHB), East Antarctica. (b) a drainage map of the Antarctic ice sheet. Modified after Anderson et al., Quaternary Sci. Rev., 2002 and Takano et al., this study.

    We report a 6,000 years record of subglacial weathering and biogeochemical processes in two perennially ice-covered glacial lakes at Rundvågshetta, on the Soya Coast of Lützow-Holm Bay, East Antarctica. The two lakes, Lake Maruwan Oike and Lake Maruwan-minami, are located in a channel that drains subglacial water from the base of the East Antarctic ice sheet. Greenish-grayish organic-rich laminations in sediment cores from the lakes indicate continuous primary production affected by the inflow of subglacial meltwater containing relict carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, and other essential nutrients. Biogenic silica, amorphous hydrated silica, and DNA-based molecular signatures of sedimentary facies indicate that diatom assemblages are the dominant primary producers, supported by the input of inorganic silicon (Si) from the subglacial inflow. This study highlights the significance of subglacial water-rock interactions during physical and chemical weathering processes and the importance of such interactions for the supply of bioavailable nutrients.