2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 3:00 PM


WEBB, Cathleen Joyce1, CAMPBELL, Chelsea Duffy2, BROTHERTON, Wendy3, DAWADI, Sreedevi1, MYERS, Sarah4, HARTMAN, David1, CLARK, Lindsey1 and DOCKERY, Ashley1, (1)Chemistry, Western Kentucky Univ, 1 Big Red Way, Bowling Green, KY 42101, (2)Chemistry, Western Kentucky University, 1 Big Red Way, bowling green, KY 42101, (3)Chemistry, Berea College, Berea, KY 40404, (4)Chemistry, Bowling Green High School, 1327 Woodhurst Street, bowling green, KY 42101, cathleen.webb@wku.edu

The fate and transport of mercury in Mammoth Cave National Park (MCNP) will be examined in order to determine mercury's mobility in surface and ground water. Mercury (Hg) is a persistent neurotoxin that is easily transported through karst aquifer systems; for example, the South Central Kentucky Karst (SCKK) ecosystem, which includes the MCNP area. The largest source of mercury to MCNP is atmospheric deposition, largely produced by coal-fired power plants. Hg from the atmosphere deposits in rivers, sediments, and organisms through rain, wind, and bioaccumulation. The current data shows a potential threat of Hg levels in the drinking water and Hg bioaccumulation in a number of surface and subsurface organisms of MCNP. Background levels of mercury, 0-25 ppt in the water and 0-3000 ppb in the sediment have been observed. Observed levels of mercury in fish and clam samples are comparable to values observed in other studies (0-0.50 ppm). Mercury levels in different bat species in the park have been examined which show 2-6 ppm. There is little data that can be used to predict to what degree atmospheric deposition of mercury will impact the SCKK ecosystem; therefore, sampling in MCNP and the study of Hg's mobility characteristics will continue through 2008.