Hydrochemistry (major and trace elements) of Lake Malawi (Nyasa), Tanzanian Northern Basin: local versus global considerations - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions Year : 2010

Hydrochemistry (major and trace elements) of Lake Malawi (Nyasa), Tanzanian Northern Basin: local versus global considerations

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Abstract

This paper presents the first inventory of dissolved minor and trace element (F, Al, Fe, Mn, Ba, Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, Mo, Bi, Sr, Zn) concentrations in Lake Malawi, the second largest African lake. Sampling was carried out during 1993 dry season in the northern part of the lake. Trace metal concentrations were measured, together with Ca, Mg, Na, K, Cl, SO4, Alkalinity and Si, along three profiles in the lake northern extremity, in five tributaries and two on-land hydrothermal springs. Water profiles show similar elemental distributions and concentrations that are influenced by lake physical-chemical stratification. Stratification, assessed using temperature, conductivity, Si and Mn profiles, is characterised by two boundaries: the thermocline (70-90 m) and the oxicline (150-190 m). Elemental water concentrations are discussed using simple covariance analyse. Epilimnetic concentrations and distribution are also influenced by atmospheric deposition and river diving. Comparison of dissolved concentrations for potentially polluting elements with World Health Organisation Guidelines and those reported for other East African lakes shows that this reservoir is uncontaminated despite an increasing human stress. Major element behaviour is assessed through a 3 boxes model. In this model Cl and K are conservative elements whereas Si is removed from the solution by diatom productivity and sedimentation. Ca, Na, Mg and alkalinity show low reactivity. Evaporation is one of the controlling factors of lake element concentration that superimposes on the watershed control. Hydrothermal activity, not evidenced in the lake, controls the chemistry of one of the main northern tributary. Chemical comparison between Northern rivers and other tributaries characterises the geographical and geological specificity of studied northern watershed. Moreover the lake annual chemical budget shows that northern watershed generates the main elemental input to the lake, illustrating the dual importance of this area in terms of water and ionic recharge to the lake.
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insu-03605312 , version 1 (28-04-2022)

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Attribution - CC BY 4.0

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P. Branchu, L. Bergonzini, J. -P. Ambrosi, D. Cardinal, M. Delalande, et al.. Hydrochemistry (major and trace elements) of Lake Malawi (Nyasa), Tanzanian Northern Basin: local versus global considerations. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions, 2010, 7, pp.4371-4409. ⟨10.5194/hessd-7-4371-2010⟩. ⟨insu-03605312⟩
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