Northeastern Section - 36th Annual Meeting (March 12-14, 2001)
Paper No. 15-0
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM-12:00 PM

MERCURY STORAGE, RELEASE AND TRANSPORT IN THE WATERSHEDS OF SEVEN MAINE LAKES

PERRY, Ethan R.1, NORTON, Stephen A.1, CANGELOSI, John A.2, HESS, Charles T.3, and NORRIS, Mary J.3, (1) Department of Geological Sciences, Univ of Maine, 5790 Bryand Global Sciences Center, Orono, ME 04469-5790, Ethan.Perry@umit.maine.edu, (2) Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Environmental and Watershed Research, Univ of Maine, 5764 Sawyer Environmental Research Center, Orono, ME 04469-5764, (3) Department of Physics and Astronomy, Univ of Maine, 5709 Bennett Hall, Orono, ME 04469-5709

Seven lakes in the towns of Bucksport, Dedham, Holden and Orrington, Maine, provide an opportunity to investigate temporal changes in the total Hg (HgT) and anthropogenic Hg (HgA) deposition rates since the late 1800s. The lake sediment was cored using a stationary piston corer during 1999 and 2000. Sediment cores were analyzed for Hg and were dated using 210Pb, in order to determine changing Hg deposition rates through time. In principle, HgT consists of three components. The background Hg component (HgB) is taken to be the Hg accumulation rate in the lake before 1900. A variable Hg component (HgV) results from changes in deposition of sediment derived from the watershed, which is assumed to possess a constant, background Hg value. An anthropogenic Hg component, HgA, is deposited directly on the lake surface or reaches the lake from the terrestrial portion of the catchment. A series of calculations allows for the separation of HgA for each lake. In this study, HgB values range from 1 to 2 ng Hg/cm2/year, HgT values range from 2 to 20 ng Hg/cm2/year, and HgA values range from 0 to 10 ng Hg/cm2/year.

Six of the seven lakes exhibit similar trends in HgA, rising above background values near 1900 and steadily climbing to present values (4 to 8 ng Hg/cm2/year) along a relatively smooth profile. Williams Pond has a markedly different trend, with HgA rising above background values in the 1880s and rapidly climbing to modern values by 1950. Watershed processes involving the storage, release and transport of Hg may contribute to differences among profiles. Transport of Hg from watersheds is associated with dissolved and particulate organic matter derived from soils and wetlands. This dynamic coupling of watershed processes with atmospheric Hg deposition and sedimentation enables the development of dose-response models for Hg storage and transport in different watersheds.

Northeastern Section - 36th Annual Meeting (March 12-14, 2001)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 15--Booth# 4
Hydrogeology and Geochemistry (Posters)
Sheraton Burlington: Lake Champlain Exhibition Hall
8:30 AM-12:00 PM, Tuesday, 13 March 2001


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