Initial Geochemistry Data of the Lake Ohrid (Macedonia, Albania) DEEP -Site Sediment Record: The ICDP Scopsco Drilling Project
Abstract:Ancient lakes, with sediment records spanning >1 million years, are very rare. The UNESCO World Heritage site of Lake Ohrid on the Balkans is thought to be the oldest lake in Europe. With 212 endemic species described to date, it is also a hotspot of evolution. In order to unravel the geological and evolutionary history of the lake, an international group of scientists, conducted a deep drilling campaign in spring 2013 under the umbrella of the ICDP SCOPSCO project (Scientific Collaboration on Past Speciation Conditions in Lake Ohrid).
Overall, about 2,100 m of sediments were recovered from four drill sites. At the main drill site (DEEP-site) in central parts of the lake where seismic data indicated a maximum sediment fill of ca. 700 m, a total of more than 1,500 m of sediments were recovered until a penetration depth of 569 m. Currently, core opening, core description, XRF and MSCL scanning, sub-sampling (16 cm resolution), and inorganic and organic geochemical as well as sedimentological analyses of the sediment cores from the DEEP site are in progress at the University of Cologne. Previous studies at Lake Ohrid have shown that interglacial periods are characterized by high TIC and TOC contents, likely associated with high contents of calcite and organic matter in the sediments. In contrast, during glacial periods negligible TIC and low TOC contents correspond to high K counts indicating enhanced supply of clastic material. Similar patterns can be observed in the biogeochemical analyses of the subsamples and in the XRF data of the DEEP site record. Following these variations on a glacial-interglacial time scale, TIC and TOC data obtained from the subsamples and from core catcher samples indicate that the DEEP site sequence provides a 1.2 million year old continuous record of environmental and climatological variability in the Balkan Region. The age control can be further improved by first findings of macroscopic tephra horizons. Peaks in K, Sr, Zr, and magnetic susceptibility might indicate the occurrence of additional cryptotephra layers in the sediment sequence.