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Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Engineering (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Martin T Auer


Diagenesis of particulate organic matter in lake sediments consumes and produces chemical species that have significant effects on water quality, e.g. oxygen and nitrate depletion and attendant mediation of nutrient and metal recycling. A mechanistic, mass balance model (SED2K) is applied here in quantifying the time course and magnitude of sediment response to reductions in depositional fluxes of organic matter. In applying the model, direct, site-specific measurements of the sedimentation and POM rates in Onondaga Lake are used, leaving only the diagenesis coefficient (solubilization) for estimation by fit to downcore POM profiles. Model calibration is constrained by the dual requirement that both POM profiles and the time series of efflux of the products of diagenesis must be matched. Simulations point to the existence of POM preservation processes at depth, a phenomenon that may enhance the timing and magnitude of lake recovery.