There is increasing concern over the negative ecological impacts caused by falling calcium (Ca) concentrations in lakes, particularly in central Ontario, Canada. Forecasting regional changes in lake Ca concentrations relies on accurate estimates of mineral weathering rates that are not widely available. In this study, bulk atmospheric deposition, surface water and soil chemistry along with 87Sr/86Sr isotope measurements were used to provide regional insight into weathering controls on Ca concentrations in lakes. Regionally, Ca concentrations in 90% of 129 lakes sampled in central Ontario were <0.1 mmol L−1 and the Ca/Sr ratio in lakes increased and the K/Sr ratio decreased with increasing Sr concentration, which is indicative of greater Ca sources from calcite or apatite in the higher Ca lakes. Significant relationships between 87Sr/86Sr ratios and Ca/Sr rations in dilute acid (0.1 M HCl) soil extracts are also indicative of the presence of trace amounts of calcite or apatite in surficial soils. Within the low (<0.7 mmol L−1) Ca lakes, defined in this study that are considered most at risk from falling Ca concentrations, 87Sr/86Sr ratios fell within the range observed in weak acid soil extracts and were also significantly related to Ca/Na and K/Sr ratios in surface waters. There were large inconsistencies however, between Ca/Na ratios and Ca/Sr in surface waters and soil acid extracts that suggest differences in 87Sr/86Sr ratios in surface waters of the low Ca lakes do not simply reflect differences in Ca derived from non-silicate minerals in surficial soils and that that Ca sources from deeper soil or bedrock are also important contributors to surface water Ca in these low Ca lakes.
Science of the Total Environment – Elsevier
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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