Soil–plant interactions and the uptake of Pb at abandoned mining sites in the Rookhope catchment of the N. Pennines, UK : a Pb isotope study

Chenery, S.R.; Izquierdo, M.; Marzouk, E.; Klinck, B.; Palumbo-Roe, B.; Tye, A.M.. 2012 Soil–plant interactions and the uptake of Pb at abandoned mining sites in the Rookhope catchment of the N. Pennines, UK : a Pb isotope study. Science of the Total Environment, 433. 547-560.

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This paper examines Pb concentrations and sources in soil, grass and heather from the Rookhope catchment in the North Pennines, UK, an area of historical Pb and Zn mining and smelting. Currently, the area has extensive livestock and sports shooting industries. Risk assessment, using the source-pathway-receptor paradigm, requires the quantification of source terms and an understanding of the many factors determining the concentration of Pb in plants. A paired soil and vegetation (grass and heather) geochemical survey was undertaken. Results showed no direct correlation between soil (total or EDTA extractable Pb) and vegetation Pb concentration. However, regression modelling based on the Free-Ion Activity Model (FIAM) suggested that the underlying mechanism determining grass Pb concentration across the catchment was largely through root uptake. Spatial patterns of 206/207Pb isotopes suggested greater aerosol deposition of Pb on high moorland and prevailing wind facing slopes. This was evident in the isotopic ratios of the heather plants. Pb isotope analysis showed that new growth heather tips typically had 206/207Pb values of ~1.14, whilst grass shoots typically had values ~1.16 and bulk soil and peat ~1.18. However, the 206/207Pb ratio in the top few cm of peat was ~1.16 suggesting that grass was accessing Pb from a historical/recent pool of Pb in soil/peat profiles and consisting of both Pennine ore Pb and long-range Pb deposition. Isotope Dilution assays on the peat showed a lability of between 40 and 60%. A simple source apportionment model applied to samples where the isotope ratios was not within the range of the local Pennine Pb, suggested that grass samples contained up to 31 % of non-Pennine Pb. This suggests that the historical/recent reservoir of non-Pennine Pb accessed by roots continues to be a persistent contaminant source despite the principal petrol Pb source being phased out over a decade ago.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2010 > Climate Change Science
ISSN: 0048-9697
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 23 Jul 2012 14:24 +0 (UTC)

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