Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
Abstract Although catchments have been implicated as an important source of metals to lakes, the catchment contribution of different metals is poorly known, and the anthropogenic contribution is not known at all. We determine the anthropogenic lake sediment burdens of Zn, Cu, Ni, Cr, and Pb for several Quebec and Ontario lakes, not subject to point source loading, to obtain estimates of atmospheric loading and inputs from terrestrial sources. To do this, we first collected multiple cores across 11 lake basins to estimate the whole-lake Pb burdens. As the whole-lake Pb burdens did not differ among lakes that spanned over two orders of magnitude in drainage ratios (drainage basin area/lake area), we conclude that catchment retention of anthropogenic Pb is complete. The anthropogenic Pb burdens were then used as a correction for focusing for the other metals. Among the metals, Cr and Ni were the most readily exported from drainage basins, followed by Cu. Zn showed no increase with drainage ratio, indicating Zn to be effectively retained by catchments. The export coefficients of the Pb corrected metals correlate well with ocean residence time, revealing a similar metal sorption/precipitation sequence in both soils and oceans. Sediment metal burdens provide a relatively easy way to obtain not only metal export coefficients from drainage basins, but also the atmospheric deposition of anthropogenic metals (e.g. Pb: S.E. Quebec, 950 mg*m−2: Laurentians, north of Montreal, 420 mg*m−2). The export coefficients are not only simpler to obtain than by mass balance measurements, but, in addition, identify the anthropogenic component.
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