The Science of the Total Environment, August 15, 2012, Vol.432, p.65(13)
To link to full-text access for this article, visit this link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.05.077 Byline: Gregory T. Carling, Diego P. Fernandez, William P. Johnson Keywords: Aeolian dust; Trace elements; Mercury; Snow chemistry; Dust chemistry; Wasatch Mountains Abstract: Depth-integrated snow columns were collected at 12 sites across the central Wasatch Mountains, Utah, during March and April 2010 to determine concentrations of trace elements, major anions and cations, and pH. Sample collection was conducted at or near maximum snow accumulation prior to the onset of melt, and included spring dust events driven by southerly pre-frontal winds. Snow samples were melted in the laboratory and subsampled for analyses on filtered (0.45[mu]m) and unfiltered fractions. All measured elements (Al, As, Ba, Ca, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, K, Li, Mg, Mn, Na, Ni, Pb, Sb, Sr, Ti, Tl, U, V, and Zn) and major anions (Cl, NO.sub.3, and SO.sub.4) displayed significant increases in concentration (for example, factor of 2 to 5 increases for As, Cr, Hg, and Pb) between the six sites sampled in March (prior to dust events) and the six sites sampled in April (after dust events). Acid neutralizing capacity and pH were also elevated in April relative to March snowpack. Comparison of elemental concentration in the particulate (〉0.45[mu]m; difference between unfiltered and filtered concentration) and soluble (〈0.45[mu]m; filtered concentration) fractions shows that the concentration increase between March and April snowpack for the trace elements is primarily a result of association with dust particles 〉0.45[mu]m. The results suggest that the majority of trace element loading to the Wasatch snowpack occurs via dust deposition. The major elements were primarily loaded in the 〈0.45[mu]m fraction, suggesting deposition of soluble dust particles. The overall findings of this paper are similar to other studies regarding the role of dust on nutrient and trace element accumulation in soils and lake sediments, but to our knowledge this is the first study that compares trace element chemistry of seasonal snowpack before and after dust deposition events. Article History: Received 26 October 2011; Revised 7 May 2012; Accepted 14 May 2012
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