Sediment transport to the Laptev Sea–hydrology and geochemistry of the Lena River

  • V. Rachold
  • A. Alabyan
  • H.-W. Hubberten
  • V. N. Korotaev
  • A. A. Zaitsev


This study focuses on the fluvial sediment input to the Laptev Sea and concentrates on the hydrology of the Lena basin and the geochemistry of the suspended particulate material. The paper presents data on annual water discharge, sediment transport and seasonal variations of sediment transport. The data are based on daily measurements of hydrometeorological stations and additional analyses of the SPM concentrations carried out during expeditions from 1975 to 1981. Samples of the SPM collected during an expedition in 1994 were analysed for major, trace, and rare earth elements by ICP-OES and ICP-MS. Approximately 700 km3 freshwater and 27 times 106 tons of sediment per year are supplied to the Laptev Sea by Siberian rivers, mainly by the Lena River. Due to the climatic situation of the drainage area, almost the entire material is transported between June and September. However, only a minor part of the sediments transported by the Lena River enters the Laptev Sea shelf through the main channels of the delta, while the rest is dispersed within the network of the Lena Delta. Because the Lena River drains a large basin of 2.5 times 106 km2, the chemical composition of the SPM shows a very uniform composition. In contrast, smaller rivers with more restricted catchment areas exhibit significant differences.


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How to Cite
Rachold, V., Alabyan, A., Hubberten, H.-W., Korotaev, V. N., & Zaitsev, A. A. (1996). Sediment transport to the Laptev Sea–hydrology and geochemistry of the Lena River. Polar Research, 15(2), 183-196.
Research/review articles