Distribution and composition of Mg-calcite and dolomite in the water and sediments of lake Balaton

Eva Tompa, Ilona Nyiro-Kosa, Agnes Rostasi, Tibor Cserny, Mihaly Posfai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Lake Balaton is a large and shallow lake that is of great economic and cultural importance in landlocked Hungary. Even though the lake has been studied extensively in the last century from a large number of scientific aspects, the mineralogy of its sediments has not been fully explored. The mud at the bottom of the lake consists mostly of silt-sized grains of carbonate minerals with compositions between those of calcite (CaCO3) and dolomite CaMg (CO3)2. In order to understand the processes of carbonate precipitation and the influence of water budget fluctuations on the mineralogical character of the sediment, we used X-ray powder diffraction to analyze the changes of cell parameters of carbonate minerals in the upper half meter of the sediment. The major carbonate phase is Mg-calcite that shows a distinct reduction in cell parameters from west to east, reflecting an increase of its Mg-content, in parallel with a gradient of dissolved Mg/Ca ratio in the water. Intriguingly, dolomite, the other widespread carbonate phase in the sediment, also shows a change in cell parameters from west to east, with the deviations from values of stoichiometric dolomite being largest in the Eastern Basin of the lake. The similar pattern of cell parameter changes of Mg-calcite and dolomite suggests that ordered dolomite with slightly anomalous, Ca-rich composition also forms in the lake, probably by direct precipitation from the water. In contrast, protodolomite forms within the sediment through diagenetic processes. Based on our X-ray powder diffraction measurements, we propose a model of carbonate mineral formation and transformation in Lake Balaton. Since the Mg/Ca ratio of the water appears to be the major factor in controlling the compositions of carbonate minerals, and this ratio in turn is governed by the amount of water supply, the properties of the precipitating carbonate minerals are affected by the actual level of the lake water.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-136
Number of pages24
JournalCentral European Geology
Volume57
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2014

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Keywords

  • Lake Balaton
  • Mg-calcite
  • dolomite
  • protodolomite
  • sediment mineralogy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology

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