Accumulation rates and predominant atmospheric sources of natural and anthropogenic Hg and Pb on the Faroe Islands

Shotyk, W.; Goodsite, M.E.; Roos-Barraclough, F.; Givelet, N.; Le Roux, G.; Weiss, D.; Cheburkin, A.K.; Knudsen, K.; Heinemeier, J.; van der Knaap, Willem Oscar; Norton, S.A.; Lohse, C. (2005). Accumulation rates and predominant atmospheric sources of natural and anthropogenic Hg and Pb on the Faroe Islands. Geochimica et cosmochimica acta, 69(1), pp. 1-17. Elsevier Science 10.1016/j.gca.2004.06.011

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A monolith representing 5420 14C yr of peat accumulation was collected from a blanket bog at Myrarnar, Faroe Islands. The maximum Hg concentration (498 ng/g at a depth of 4.5 cm) coincides with the maximum concentration of anthropogenic Pb (111 μg/g). Age dating of recent peat accumulation using 210Pb (CRS model) shows that the maxima in Hg and Pb concentrations occur at AD 1954 ± 2. These results, combined with the isotopic composition of Pb in that sample (206Pb/207Pb = 1.1720 ± 0.0017), suggest that coal burning was the dominant source of both elements. From the onset of peat accumulation (ca. 4286 BC) until AD 1385, the ratios Hg/Br and Hg/Se were constant (2.2 ± 0.5 × 10-4 and 8.5 ± 1.8 × 10-3, respectively). Since then, Hg/Br and Hg/Se values have increased, also reaching their maxima in AD 1954. The age date of the maximum concentrations of anthropogenic Hg and Pb in the Faroe Islands is consistent with a previous study of peat cores from Greenland and Denmark (dated using the atmospheric bomb pulse curve of 14C), which showed maximum concentrations in AD 1953. The average rate of atmospheric Hg accumulation from 1520 BC to AD 1385 was 1.27 ± 0.38 μg/m2/yr. The Br and Se concentrations and the background Hg/Br and Hg/Se ratios were used to calculate the average rate of natural Hg accumulation for the same period, 1.32 ± 0.36 μg/m2/yr and 1.34 ± 0.29 μg/m2/yr, respectively. These fluxes are similar to the preanthropogenic rates obtained using peat cores from Switzerland, southern Greenland, southern Ontario, Canada, and the northeastern United States. Episodic volcanic emissions and the continual supply of marine aerosols to the Faroe Islands, therefore, have not contributed significantly to the Hg inventory or the Hg accumulation rates, relative to these other areas. The maximum rate of Hg accumulation was 34 μg/m2/yr. The greatest fluxes of anthropogenic Hg accumulation calculated using Br and Se, respectively, were 26 and 31 μg/m2/yr. The rate of atmospheric Hg accumulation in 1998 (16 μg/m2/yr) is comparable to the values recently obtained by atmospheric transport modeling for Denmark, the Faroe Islands, and Greenland.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Palaeoecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

van der Knaap, Willem Oscar

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

0016-7037

Publisher:

Elsevier Science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

08 Dec 2015 14:23

Last Modified:

20 Jun 2016 13:47

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.gca.2004.06.011

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.73965

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/73965

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