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A 500 year sediment lake record of anthropogenic and natural inputs to Windermere (English Lake District) using double-spike lead isotopes, radiochronology, and sediment microanalysis

Miller, Helen; Croudace, Ian W.; Bull, Jonathan M.; Cotterill, Carol J.; Dix, Justin K.; Taylor, Rex N.. 2014 A 500 year sediment lake record of anthropogenic and natural inputs to Windermere (English Lake District) using double-spike lead isotopes, radiochronology, and sediment microanalysis. Environmental Science & Technology, 48 (13). 7254-7263. 10.1021/es5008998

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Abstract/Summary

A high-resolution record of pollution is preserved in recent sediments from Windermere, the largest lake in the English Lake District. Data derived from X-ray core scanning (validated against wavelength dispersive X-ray fluorescence), radiochronological techniques (210Pb and 137Cs) and ultrahigh precision, double-spike mass spectrometry for lead isotopes are combined to decipher the anthropogenic inputs to the lake. The sediment record suggests that while most element concentrations have been stable, there has been a significant increase in lead, zinc, and copper concentrations since the 1930s. Lead isotope down-core variations identify three major contributory sources of anthropogenic (industrial) lead, comprising gasoline lead, coal combustion lead (most likely source is coal-fired steam ships), and lead derived from Carboniferous Pb–Zn mineralization (mining activities). Periods of metal workings do not correlate with peaks in heavy metals due to the trapping efficiency of up-system lakes in the catchment. Heavy metal increases could be due to flood-induced metal inwash after the cessation of mining and the weathering of bedrock in the catchment. The combination of sediment analysis techniques used provides new insights into the pollutant depositional history of Windermere and could be similarly applied to other lake systems to determine the timing and scale of anthropogenic inputs.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1021/es5008998
ISSN: 0013-936X
Date made live: 11 Aug 2014 10:18 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/508047

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