Chemical composition of the sediment from Lake 20 (Antarctica)
AbstractLake 20 (19,000 m2) is located on the coast of the Ross Sea, in the North-Central part of Victoria Land, and its surface is ice-free between the end of December and early February. Within the framework of the Italian National Research Programme in Antarctica, a study was made of the chemical composition of sediments from the lake, with the intention of using this information to contribute to a better understanding of the processes involved in the long range transport of pollutants and their role in global changes. A sediment core from Lake 20 (Antarctica), 18 cm long, was collected in 1994, sliced into 2 cm sections and analysed using X Ray fluorescence spectrometry for 17 elements (Si, Al, Ca, K, Fe, Mg, Ti, S, P, Pb, Zn, Cu, Ni, Mn, Cr, Na, Cl), by CHN Elemental Analyser for C and N, by Flameless Atomic Absorption Spectrometry for As, and by Cold Vapour Atomic Absorption Spectrometry for Hg. The chemical composition of the sediments is consistent with the known geochemical characteristics of the drainage basin. While the chemical analyses reveal that sedimentation in Lake 20 has changed through time, the variations along the core are most probably related to the climatic evolution of the area, to the consequent changes in weathering processes, and possibly to an increase in the primary productivity of the lake, rather than to anthropogenic influences on the biogeochemical cycles of the elements.
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