Original paper

Limnology of Pavilion Lake, B. C., Canada Characterization of a microbialite forming environment

Lim, Darlene S.S. Laval


The objectives of this study are two-fold: (1) to describe and quantify the seasonal physical and chemical limnological properties of Pavilion Lake, a microbialite-rich lake in British Columbia, Canada, and (2) to gain a broader limnological context of Pavilion Lake by examining the limnology and hydrology of the lakes and groundwater systems in the area (∼30 km radius). Pavilion Lake is a dimictic lake with annual ice-cover. It is a hard water (mean CaCO3 = 181.8 mg L-1), ultra-oligotrophic (mean Total Phosphorus [TP] = 3.3 μg L-1) lake, that is groundwater fed most likely through diffuse, low velocity local and regional sources. Principal Components Analysis (PCA) separated Pavilion Lake from the other groundwater, stream and lake samples along a conductivity and pH gradient on Axis 1 (λ1 = 0.392), and a nutrient (Total Nitrogen [TN], TP) and K+, Mg2+, Si gradient on the second axis (λ2 = 0.160). Pavilion Lake has the lowest Ca2+ and TP concentrations, and the highest Na+ concentrations and optical transmissivity amongst all sampled sites. Furthermore, the lake is characterized by low sedimentation rates. These characteristics are potentially important factors in supporting the past and on-going development of microbialites within the lake. Our study provides a limnochemical reference to consider in the conceptualization of ideal environments supporting large-scale microbialites.


hard water lakeultra-oligotrophic lakegroundwater systemspaleolimnology