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Chemical Geology 224 (2005) 183-200
Sr and Nd isotope as a tracer of sources of clastic material, in the Bourget lake sediment (NW Alps, France) during the Little Ice Age
Marie Revel-Rolland 1, Fabien Arnaud 2, Emmanuel Chapron 3, Marc Desmet 2, N. Givelet 4, Chantal Alibert 5, Malcolm Mcculloch 5

Geochemical methods (major elements and Sr, Nd isotopes) have been used to (1) characterize Lake Le Bourget sediments in the French Alps, (2) identify the current sources of the clastic sediments and estimate the source variability over the last 600 years. Major element results indicate that Lake Le Bourget sediments consist of 45% clastic component and 55% endogenic calcite. In addition, several individual flood levels have been identified during the Little Ice Age (LIA) on the basis of their higher clastic content (> 70%). Potential sources of Lake Le Bourget clastic sediments have been investigated from Sr and Nd isotope compositions. The sediments from the Sierroz River and Leysse River which are mainly derived from the Mesozoic Calcareous Massifs are characterised by lower 87Sr/86Sr ratios and slightly lower Nd(0) ratios than the Arve River sediments which are derived from the Palaeozoic Mont-Blanc External Crystalline Massifs. The Rhône River appears to have been the main source of clastic sediments into the lake for the last 600 years, as evidenced by a similar Sr and Nd isotopic compositions analyzed in core B16 sediments (87Sr/86Sr = 0.719, Nd(0) = − 10) and in the sediments of the Rhône River (87Sr/86Sr = 0.719, Nd(0) = − 9.6). The isotopic signatures of flood events and background samples from core B16 in Lake Le Bourget are also similar. This indicates that prior to 1800, the inputs into the lake have remained relatively homogeneous with the proportion of clastic component mainly being a function of the palaeohydrology of the Rhone River. Early human modification (deforestation and agriculture) of the lake catchment before the 1800s appears to have had little influence on the source of clastic sediments.
1 :  Laboratoire de géodynamique des chaines alpines (LGCA)
CNRS : UMR5025 – OSUG – INSU – Université de Savoie – Université Joseph Fourier - Grenoble I
2 :  Environnements, Dynamiques et Territoires de la Montagne (EDYTEM)
CNRS : UMR5204 – Université de Savoie
3 :  Geological Institute ETH Zürich
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich
4 :  Institute of Geological Sciences
University of Bern
5 :  Research School of Earth Sciences (RSES)
Australian National University
Planète et Univers/Sciences de la Terre/Géologie appliquée

Sciences de l'environnement/Milieux et Changements globaux
Lake Le Bourget sediments – Sr and Nd isotopes – Rhône River floods – Palaeohydrology – Little Ice Age