Trace element and Pb isotope fingerprinting of atmospheric pollution sources: A case study from the east coast of Ireland


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walter.geibert [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

Unravelling inputs of multiple air pollution sources and reconstructing their historic contribution can be a difficult task. Here, new trace metal concentrations and Pb isotope data were combined for a radionuclide (210Pb-241Am) dated peat core from the Liffey Head bog (LHB) in eastern Ireland in order to reconstruct how different sources contributed to the atmospheric pollution over the past century. Highest enrichments in the heavy metals Pb, Cu, Ag, Sn, and Sb, together with a Pb isotope composition (206Pb/204Pb: 18.351 ± 0.013; 206Pb/207Pb: 1.174 ± 0.012) close to that of the Wicklow mineralisation demonstrates significant aerial influx of heavy metals from local mining and smelting activities during the 19th century until ca. 1940s. A dramatic compositional shift defined by elevated Co, Cr, Ni, Mo, Zn, and V enrichments and a sharp transition towards unradiogenic 206Pb values (206Pb/204Pb: 18.271 ± 0.013–17.678 ± 0.006; 206Pb/207Pb: 1.170 ± 0.012–1.135 ± 0.007) is documented from the 1940s until ca. 2000. These are attributed to the atmospheric impact of fossil fuels and especially leaded petrol, modelled to have contributed between 6 and 78% to the total Pb pollution at this site. The subsequent turn to a more radiogenic Pb isotope signature since 2000 in Ireland is clearly documented in the investigated archive (206Pb/204Pb: 17.930 ± 0.006; 206Pb/207Pb: 1.148 ± 0.007) and reflects the abolishment of leaded petrol. However, there remains a persisting and even increasing pollution in Ni, Mo, Cu, and especially Zn, collectively originating from countrywide use of fossil fuels(peat, coal, heating oil, and unleaded vehicle fuels) for domestic and industrial purposes. This illustrates the continued anthropogenic influence on important natural archives such as bogs in Ireland despite the phase-out of leaded petrol.



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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
47733
DOI 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2018.07.003

Cite as
Rosca, C. , Tomlinson, E. L. , Geibert, W. , McKenna, C. A. , Babechuk, M. G. and Kamber, B. S. (2018): Trace element and Pb isotope fingerprinting of atmospheric pollution sources: A case study from the east coast of Ireland , Applied Geochemistry, 96 , pp. 302-326 . doi: 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2018.07.003


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