Analysis of lake sediment cores can provide useful data for interpreting environmental conditions surrounding the lake. Here I analyzed a sediment core from Lake Matoaka in southeastern Virginia. I focused on grain size distribution and carbon/nitrogen ratio which are sensitive to sediment source variations. This provided a record dating back approximately 120 years. Inspired by other studies that linked storm records to changes in grain size, I hypothesized that there would be a significant correlation between precipitation data and the sediment record. I found that trends in the data reflected significant impact to the lake due to a human-induced change in the lake level and construction of a retention pond upstream of the core site. This shows the importance of considering the effects of human activities within a watershed.
Fosnight, Katherine, "Reconstructing Storm Records from Pond Sediment in Virginia's Coastal Plain" (2022). Geology Senior Theses. William & Mary. Paper 39.