Attribution of sources to metal accumulation in an alpine tarn, the Snowy Mountains, Australia

Nicola Stromsoe, J. Nikolaus Callow, Hamish A. McGowan, Samuel K. Marx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study analyses 1800 years of heavy metal accumulation in a remote alpine lake experiencing long-range atmospheric contamination and additional inputs of Ag from cloud seeding. In comparison to previous work undertaken on peats, lake sediments show limited post-industrial metal enrichment with enrichment factors of Ag: 1.3, Pb: 1.3, Zn: 1.1, Cu: 1.2 compared to Ag: 2.2, Pb: 3.3, Zn: 2.1, Cu: 4.1 for peat. We show this to be the result of substantial fluvial lithogenic flux of metals (92-97% of total metal flux) to the lake. Total annual metal flux to the lake ranges from: Ag: 4-12 ng/cm2/yr to Zn: 3 383-11 313 ng/cm2/yr. As a result, any contribution of cloud seeding to additional enrichment of Ag in lake sediments is considered negligible. Results show that metal enrichment is not necessarily ubiquitous through a landscape. This has implications for predicting the impacts of atmospheric metal pollution to complex environmental systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-143
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


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