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Observations and implications of sediment-water interactions in the Niagara impoundment of southwest Virginia.
A program of in situ and laboratory studies was conducted to elucidate
the role of the deposited sediments of the Niagara Reservoir in
affecting the quality of the flow of the Roanoke River above the headwaters
of Smith Mountain Lake. Agronomic analysis techniques were
adapted and applied to provide quantitative analysis capability for the
The surficial sediments were observed to constitute a considerable
reservoir of nitrogen and phosphorus, which, during the anoxic bottom
conditions occurring during the summer months, caused an enhancement
of concentrations in the water column. Conversely, during the winter
months, the surficial sediments acted as a phosphorus and nitrogen sink,
removing both materials from the water column.
Laboratory batch and microcosm studies made it possible to quantify
the release and removal of nitrogen and phosphorus under aerobic and
anaerobic conditions, and to elucidate the factors upon which the exchanges depended.