A High-Arctic flow-through lake system hydrochemical changes: Revvatnet, southwestern Svalbard (years 2010-2018)

Chemosphere. 2021 Jul;275:130046. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.130046. Epub 2021 Feb 23.


Lake ecosystems are strongly coupled to features of their surrounding landscapes such as geomorphology, lithology, vegetation and hydrological characteristics. In the 2010-2018 summer seasons, we investigated an Arctic flow-through lake system Revvatnet, located in the vicinity of the coastal zone of Hornsund fjord in Svalbard, characterising its hydrological properties and the chemical composition of its waters. The lake system comprises of a small upper lake and a large lower one, the latter cone-shaped, with -29.1 m maximum depth. With near-neutral pH (full range 6.5-8.4) and low EC (7-147 μS cm-1), the lake has rather similar characteristics to many Arctic lakes. Metal and metalloid concentrations were either similar across the lake system or increased downstream (except Zn, which has important ore-bearing veins in the upper part of the catchment), which is consistent with the likely slow dissolution of suspended particles within the lakes. The ∑PAHs concentrations ranged from <MDL to 2151 ng L-1, and according to the indicator PAHs concentration ratios, they originated from a mixture of combustion processes (they were not petrogenic). Principal component analysis showed that seasonal variability was the most characteristic feature of the chemical composition of these waters, although there appear to be consistent changes with time (sampling year) as well. Future research should explore the occurrence of high maxima in the concentrations of priority pollutants, such as PAHs, metals and metalloids (e.g. As).

Keywords: Arctic; Bathymetry; Chemical pollution; Flow-through lake; Freshwater.

MeSH terms

  • Arctic Regions
  • Ecosystem
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Lakes*
  • Svalbard
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical* / analysis


  • Water Pollutants, Chemical