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Pre- and post-industrial environmental changes as revealed by the biogeochemical sedimentary record of Drammensfjord, Norway

By R.H. Smittenberg, M. Baas, M.J. Green, E.C. Hopmans, S. Schouten and J.S. Sinninghe Damsté


The biogeochemical sedimentary record of the anoxic Drammensfjord, Norway, was investigated on a decadal to centennial\ud time scale over the last millennium, in order to reconstruct the pre-industrial fjord environment and ecosystem and humaninduced\ud environmental changes. The sediments were dated by a combination of 14C and 210Pb analysis and varve counting.\ud Analysis of the bulk sedimentary parameters and of the biomarker distribution revealed that the sedimentary organic matter of\ud the fjord is primarily of terrigenous origin, indicating that the fjord was oligotrophic or mesotrophic. The fjord’s bottom water\ud has been continuously euxinic since at least 1000 AD, but photic zone euxinia occurred only irregularly in the fjord. The\ud organic matter flux and composition remained virtually invariable until the 18th century. After that time, the flux of material\ud derived from coniferous trees started to increase, indicated by elevated concentrations of dehydroabietic acid and related\ud compounds, but also by raising levels of C24 n-alcohols and fatty acids. This marked the onset of sawmill activities in the\ud hinterland. After the beginning of the industrial revolution, around 1850, the flux of organic waste from sawmills and paper\ud mills increased substantially. It is suggested that slow bacterial degradation of this relatively nutrient-poor organic waste caused\ud a gradual eutrophication trend, which is reflected in substantial increased bacterial and moderately increased other aquatic\ud biomarker accumulation rates. After the industrial revolution, this trend accelerated and was possibly enhanced by a growing\ud population of the area with accompanying agricultural and domestic waste. This promoted primary productivity and changed\ud the phytoplankton composition in the fjord

Topics: Aardwetenschappen, environmental change, Norway, fjord, biomarkers, eutrophication
Year: 2005
OAI identifier: oai:dspace.library.uu.nl:1874/22584
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