In contrast with the extensive palaeolimnological studies carried out in North America and Europe, relatively few studies have described the anthropogenic and/or climate impacts in Patagonian lakes. We addressed these issues by analysing geochemistry, lithology, pigments and chironomid remains from sediment cores collected from Lake Hess (41°22 20 S, 71°44 0W) located in the Nahuel Huapi National Park in northern Patagonia. The aim of this study is to provide a palaeoenvironmental and climate reconstruction of the past ca. three centuries for this cold oligotrophic, quasi-pristine lake which receives meltwaters from the Tronador ice cap. Chronology was based on 137Cs and 210Pb measurements of the upper sediments, and the inferred sedimentation rate of 23.2 mg cm-2 y-1 (0.15 cm y-1) was consistent with both sets of measurements. The sediment from Lake Hess was rich in tephra deposits particularly evident in the lower part of the cores. Tephras are valuable to use for core correlation and can be traced through peaks in the magnetic susceptibility (MS) profiles. Results from the multiproxy analyses in the longest core (83 cm) identify three main phases of change. From the bottom up to 42 cm (ca. ad 1800), the sediment is composed of light-grey organically rich clays. Both pigments and chironomids suggest variable trends in productivity and precipitation regime. At the end of the Little Ice Age chronozone (ad 1770-1850), pigment concentrations were very low. From 42 cm to ca. 25 cm (ad 1800-1940), the sedimentary record is composed of alternating black and dark organic-matter rich mud with variable amounts of macrophyte remains. Pigment concentrations and chironomid head capsule counts were also very low. These facies are composed of very fine plastic sediments with some faintly laminated intervals and an organic matter composition gradually decreasing towards the top of the zone. A sharp change occurs at 25 cm (ca. ad 1940) showing a strong increase in organic matter content, algal nutrients and plant pigments together with a change in the chironomid assemblages. This might document a change in the trophic condition of the lake associated with changes in erosion/deposition rates. Although there are records of human impact in the area studied, involving the use of fires, most of the observed chemical and biological changes in Lake Hess sediment sequence were interpreted in terms of climate changes, especially to changes in moisture balance brought about by variations in the strength of the westerlies.Fil: Guilizzoni, Piero. Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche; ItaliaFil: Massaferro, Julieta. Administración de Parques Nacionales. Parque Nacional "Nahuel Huapi"; ArgentinaFil: Lami, Andrea. Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche; ItaliaFil: Piovano, Eduardo Luis. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Centro Científico Tecnológico Conicet - Córdoba. Centro de Investigaciones en Ciencias de la Tierra. Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas Físicas y Naturales. Centro de Investigaciones en Ciencias de la Tierra; ArgentinaFil: Ribeiro Guevara, Sergio. Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica; Argentina. Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche; ItaliaFil: Formica, Stella Maris. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Centro Científico Tecnológico Conicet - Córdoba. Centro de Investigaciones en Ciencias de la Tierra. Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas Físicas y Naturales. Centro de Investigaciones en Ciencias de la Tierra; ArgentinaFil: Daga, Romina Betiana. Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica. Gerencia del Área de Energía Nuclear. Unidad de Actividad de Ingeniería Nuclear; ArgentinaFil: Rizzo, Andrea Paula. Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica. Gerencia del Área de Energía Nuclear. Unidad de Actividad de Ingeniería Nuclear; Argentina. Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche; ItaliaFil: Gerli, Stefano. Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche; Itali
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