250-year records of mercury and trace element deposition in two lakes from Cajas National Park, SW Ecuadorian Andes

Schneider, Tobias; Musa Bandowe, Benjamin A.; Bigalke, Moritz; Mestrot, Adrien; Hampel, Henrietta; Mosquera, Pablo V.; Fränkl, Lea; Wienhues, Giulia; Vogel, Hendrik; Tylmann, Wojciech; Grosjean, Martin (2021). 250-year records of mercury and trace element deposition in two lakes from Cajas National Park, SW Ecuadorian Andes. Environmental science and pollution research, 28(13), pp. 16227-16243. Springer 10.1007/s11356-020-11437-0

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Historical records of trace elements in lake sediments provide source-to-sink information about potentially toxic pollutants across space and time. We investigated two lakes located at different elevations in the Ecuadorian Andes to understand how trace element fluxes are related to (i) geology, (ii) erosion in the watersheds, and (iii) local point sources and atmospheric loads. In remote Lake Fondococha (4150 m a.s.l.), total Hg fluxes stay constant between ca. 1760 and 1950 and show an approximately 4.4-fold increase between pre-1950 and post-1950 values. The post-1950 increase in fluxes of other trace elements (V, Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Cd, and Pb) is lower (2.1–3.0-fold) than for Hg. Mostly lithogenic sources and enhanced soil erosion contribute to their post-1950 increase (lithogenic contribution: > 85%, Hg: ~ 58%). Average post-1950 Hg fluxes are approximately 4.3 times higher in peri-urban Lake Llaviucu (3150 m a.s.l.) than in the remote Lake Fondococha. Post-1950 fluxes of the other trace elements showed larger differences between Lakes Fondococha and Llaviucu (5.2 < 25–29.5-fold increase; Ni < Pb–Cd). The comparison of the post-1950 average trace element fluxes that are derived from point and airborne sources revealed 5–687 (Hg–Pb) times higher values in Lake Llaviucu than in Lake Fondococha suggesting that Lake Llaviucu’s proximity to the city of Cuenca strongly influences its deposition record (industrial emissions, traffic, caged fishery). Both lakes responded with temporary drops in trace element accumulations to park regulations in the 1970s and 1990s, but show again increasing trends in recent times, most likely caused by increase in vehicular traffic and openings of copper and gold mines around Cajas National Park.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Paleolimnology
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography

UniBE Contributor:

Schneider, Tobias; Bandowe, Benjamin; Bigalke, Moritz; Mestrot, Adrien; Fränkl, Lea Alina; Wienhues, Giulia Luise; Vogel, Hendrik and Grosjean, Martin

Subjects:

500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology
900 History > 910 Geography & travel

ISSN:

0944-1344

Publisher:

Springer

Language:

English

Submitter:

Giulia Luise Wienhues

Date Deposited:

14 Jan 2021 12:05

Last Modified:

21 Mar 2021 02:58

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/s11356-020-11437-0

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Mercury, Trace elements, Heavy metals, Environmental reconstruction, Lake sediments, Paleolimnology, Anthropocene, Andes

BORIS DOI:

10.48350/150054

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/150054

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