Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Geology (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences

Advisor 1

John S. Gierke

Committee Member 1

Martin T. Auer

Committee Member 2

Colleen B. Mouw


Modeling lake processes and dynamics improves understanding of the system and supports predictions of the response of the lake to perturbations, such as climate change. LAKE2K, a 3-layer surface water quality model, uses a mass balance approach to simulate the physical and biogeochemical cycles in Lake Superior. The model is successfully calibrated with data from offshore Lake Superior in 2011, a year with average meteorological conditions. The thermal regime, phytoplankton populations, and phosphorus cycle of Lake Superior are modeled, resulting in a representation of seasonal trends in this dimictic system. The calibrated model is confirmed with an application for Lake Superior during 2012, a climatic anomaly. Recommendations for improvement include expanding the model to an increased multi-layered version and partitioning the particulate phosphorus variable. The model serves as a test bed to simulate temporal variations in Lake Superior and predict its response to perturbations.