Lake Annecy in Haute Savoie, France, receives about two-thirds of its fluvial input from three rivers that flow to its southern end-point. The channels of the Eau Morte, Ire, and Bornette rivers are almost completely channelized in their lower reaches as a result of human activity, with flow contained along parallel, but separate, paths from headlands in the proximal drainage basin directly to the lake. Petrographic data from river samples collected in this study serve to differentiate sand-size material carried by each fluvial system. Proportions of the dominant (limestone) and five additional (dolomite, quartz, gypsum, rock fragments, and ‘other’) components in the 3 rivers are more closely related to source supply than to fluvial transport effects or sampling strategy. Of the 7 components, mica best records the influence of depositional mechanisms. Much of the carbonate sand and coarser material at the lake shore is derived from widespread Mesozoic outcrops. Non-carbonate sand input, partially resulting from erosion of glacial till deposits and pedogenic horizons in the southern drainage basin, provides key compositional markers to differentiate between sediment carried to the lake by each river.
Until several centuries ago, deposits of the Eau Morte, Ire, and Bornette flowed to the Bou du Lac, and formed a merged, multifluvial lacustrine delta. As drainage and channel containment projects related to agricultural development intensified in lake margin lowlands, the 3 channels were separated on the delta surface, allowing bypass of river material directly onto subaqueous deltas in the lake. Specific mineral assemblages, especially quartz, mica and rock fragments, may prove useful as key tracers of human-altered sediment between the margin and deeper lake sectors.