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Title: Over one hundred years of trace metal fluxes in the sediments of the Pearl River Estuary, South China
Authors: Ip, CM
Li, X 
Zhang, G
Farmer, JG
Wai, WHO 
Li, YS 
Keywords: Sediment profiles
Trace metals
Pb isotopes
Pearl River Estuary
Issue Date: Nov-2004
Publisher: Pergamon Press
Source: Environmental pollution, Nov. 2004, v. 132, no. 1, p. 157-172 How to cite?
Journal: Environmental pollution 
Abstract: The rapid economic development in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region in South China in the last three decades has had a significant impact on the local environment. Estuarine sediment is a major sink for contaminants and nutrients in the surrounding ecosystem. The accumulation of trace metals in sediments may cause serious environmental problems in the aquatic system. Thirty sediment cores were collected in the Pearl River Estuary (PRE) in 2000 for a study on trace metal pollution in this region. Heavy metal concentrations and Pb isotopic compositions in the four [sup 210]Pb-dated sediment cores were determined to assess the fluxes in metal deposits over the last one hundred years. The concentrations of Cu, Pb and Zn in the surface sediment layers were generally elevated when compared with the sub-surface layers. There has been a significant increase in inputs of Cu, Pb and Zn in the PRE since the 1970s. The results also showed that different sampling locations in the estuary received slightly different types of inputs. Pb isotopic composition data indicated that the increased Pb in the recent sediments was of anthropogenic origin. The results of trace metal influxes showed that about 30% of total Pb and 15% of total Zn in the sediments in the 1990s were from anthropogenic sources. The combination of trace metal analysis, Pb isotopic composition and [sup 210]Pb dating in an estuary can provide vital information on the long-term accumulation of metals in sediments.
ISSN: 0269-7491
EISSN: 1873-6424
DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2004.03.028
Rights: Environmental Pollution © 2004 Elsevier. The journal web site is located at
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