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Mercury and other trace metals in the seasonal snowpack across the subarctic taiga-tundra ecotone, Northwest Territories, Canada
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL.
Geol Survey Canada, Nat Resources Canada, 601 Booth St, Ottawa, ON K1A 0E8, Canada.; Univ Ottawa, Dept Earth & Environm Sci, FSS Hall,120 Univ, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences.
Geol Survey Canada, Nat Resources Canada, 601 Booth St, Ottawa, ON K1A 0E8, Canada.; Univ Manitoba, Ctr Earth Observat Sci, 535 Wallace Bldg, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2, Canada .
2017 (English)In: Applied Geochemistry, ISSN 0883-2927, E-ISSN 1872-9134, Vol. 82, 63-78 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In Canada's Northwest Territories, mining for base metals and diamonds are vital economic activitieswhich carry risks of adverse environmental impacts. To gather baseline geochemical data against which the impact of future mining activities may be measured, a survey of trace metal concentrations in snow was carried out in 2012 along a 285-km stretch of winter mining road crossing the taiga-tundra ecotone between latitudes 62.8 and 65.5 degrees N. The distribution of 17 elements, including mercury (Hg), was measured and mapped. Results indicate that road traffic along the winter road has only a modest impact on the metal content of the nearby tundra-taiga snowpack, and that this impact is largely due to the mobilization of soil dust and associated elements. However, some enrichment of As, Pb, Sr and Zn in snow was detected near former gold mine sites, likely reflecting the windborne dispersion of contam-inated soils. The Hg concentrations in snow across the study area were generally low (<=3.01 ng L^-1), anddid not covary with any  other metals, which suggests atmospheric deposition from distant/diffuse sources. An analysis of air back-trajectories pointed to the most likely distant (>10^3 km) anthropogenic source regions being eastern Asia or Russia. Using Hg data from the present survey and another source, in combination with gridded maps of snowpack water equivalent, we calculated the potential flux of atmospherically-derived Hg that could be released by spring snowmelt into the Mackenzie River to be in the order of ~195 to 404 kg a^-1, which may represent a substantial fraction of the estimated total Hg discharge to the Beaufort Sea.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 82, 63-78 p.
Keyword [en]
Snow, trace metals, mercury, aerosols, Canada, subarctic, Mackenzie River
National Category
Geochemistry
Research subject
Earth Science with specialization in Environmental Analysis
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-317565DOI: 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2017.04.011ISI: 000403734000006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-317565DiVA: diva2:1082309
Available from: 2017-03-16 Created: 2017-03-16 Last updated: 2017-09-08Bibliographically approved

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Zdanowicz, Christian

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