Lake sediments record sensitivity of two hydrologically closed upland lakes in Mexico to human impact

Ambio. 2005 Aug;34(6):470-5.


We provide evidence of rapid, recent environmental change in two lakes in the highlands of central Mexico. Multiple sediment cores were obtained from Lago de Zirahuén (Michoacán) and Laguna de Juanacatlán (Jalisco). Analysis of diatom assemblages, magnetic susceptibility, and metal concentrations was carried out, with the chronology provided by 210Pb dating, 14C dating, and tephrochronology. There is evidence of catchment disturbance during the colonial period in both basins, but the most striking feature at both sites is the rapid change in diatom assemblages during the last 20 y, indicating the onset of eutrophication. Limnological data from Lago de Zirahuén support this interpretation, although none are available from Laguna de Juanacatlán. Paleolimnology is a powerful tool in tracking recent change, particularly in the absence of regular limnological monitoring programs. These lakes appear to be highly sensitive to changes in catchment exploitation, which must be considered in future drainage basin management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Fresh Water
  • Geologic Sediments*
  • Humans
  • Mexico