Standard Article

90 Lake Sediments as Records of Past Catchment Response

Part 7. Erosion and Sedimentation

  1. John Dearing

Published Online: 15 APR 2006

DOI: 10.1002/0470848944.hsa092

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

How to Cite

Dearing, J. 2006. Lake Sediments as Records of Past Catchment Response. Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences. 7:90.

Author Information

  1. University of Liverpool, Department of Geography, Liverpool, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2006


The sediments that accumulate at the beds of lakes are natural archives of information about catchment processes that extend back far further than instrument records. This article reviews the kinds of questions that long records can address, and summarises the technical and analytical approaches taken. Records of river discharge, sediment delivery, and soil erosion obtained in this way over decades and centuries are increasingly used to understand the behaviour of fluvial systems, especially the combined effects of human activity and climate. Case-studies now available for different parts of the world can be used to provide the temporal perspective to the current levels of fluvial and erosional processes in human-dominated landscapes, and together show the strong dependence of sediment delivery on catchment size.


  • lake sediments, past erosion, climate, human activities