Limestone Sediments Create Patterns At Lake Erie

·1-min read

While farmlands and forests onshore create spring and summer colour, North America's Great Lakes have their own ways of painting seasonal pictures.

Rich with quartz sand and silt, chalky limestone, and abundant phytoplankton, Lake Erie often stands out with its warm-weather brush strokes.

Increased sunlight, nutrient runoff, and wind-driven upwelling can also create ideal conditions for massive blooms of floating plant-like phytoplankton.

A seiche is a wind-driven wave that piles up water along the shore and stir up limestone sediments from the relatively shallow lake bottom of Lake Erie. That is probably what is happening around Long Point in this close-up view acquired on 18 May by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8.

"That's a very captivating image. It is common to see sediment resuspension along the north shore of the central basin and Long Point," said Mark Rowe, who models water conditions for NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL). "The shoreline from Rondeau to Long Point is composed of easily erodible material, and is a major source of suspended sediment to the lake."

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