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Griffore, Melissa (2017) A 4,000 YEAR LAKE SEDIMENT RECORD OF ATMOSPHERIC LEAD POLLUTION FROM NORTHWESTERN SPAIN. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The Iberian Peninsula is rich in mineral resources that have been repeatedly exploited for hundreds, and sometimes thousands of years, leaving a legacy of metal pollution in the environment. This study presents a c. 4,000-year lake sediment record of atmospheric lead (Pb) deposition from Laguna Roya (42° 8'8.42"N, 6°47'38.95"E), a small glacial lake located in the Sierra Segundera of northwestern Spain. A chronological profile of Pb accumulation was reconstructed using the Pb concentration ([Pb]) and 206Pb/207Pb isotope ratios to elucidate the regional lead pollution history. Anthropogenic lead emissions are indicated after c. 500 BC, when 206Pb/207Pb ratios begin to decrease and [Pb] begins to increase. There is an abrupt maximum [Pb] peak (63 ppm), and minimum 206Pb/207Pb= 1.1760 that occurs c. 15 BC, prior to the Roman occupation of the region. After the Fall of Rome (c. 550 AD), [Pb] decreases to 15 ppm. The 206Pb/207Pb increases to c. 1.1858 and remains relatively constant until just prior to the Industrial Revolution (c. 1820 AD) when atmospheric Pb deposition begins to steadily increase again. The [Pb] reaches a maximum (39 ppm) in 1972 AD and 206Pb/207Pb reaches a minimum (1.1688) in 1995 AD.
Source attribution of the anthropogenic Pb was estimated and compared to published lead isotope values of ores associated with mining sites throughout the Iberian Peninsula. It was found that the sources of atmospheric lead pollution prior to 1700 AD are ore deposits from the northwest of the peninsula. From 1700 AD until the mid-20th century the primary Pb emission sources are ores from the southwestern Iberian Pyrite Belt and the south-central Linares-La
Carolina mining districts. After 1960, leaded gasoline became a primary lead pollution source. It is estimated, that in 1972, 29% of the atmospheric Pb deposited in Laguna Roya was from leaded gasoline and 52% was from the southwestern and south-central ore fields. The Pb pollution record in Laguna Roya sediments not only illustrates the persistence and pervasiveness of lead pollution throughout history, but it also demonstrates how Pb concentrations and isotopic signatures in sediment archives reflect changes in both industrial activities, and trade relations throughout history.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Griffore, Melissameg130@pitt.edumeg130
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee MemberCapo, Rosemaryrcapo@pitt.edurcapo
Committee MemberStewart, Brianbstewart@pitt.edubstewart
Committee ChairAbbott, Markmabbott1@pitt.edumabbott1
Date: 21 September 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 19 April 2017
Approval Date: 21 September 2017
Submission Date: 28 August 2017
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 71
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Geology and Environmental Science
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Pb, legacy, metal, emissions, Roman, mining, Iberia, mining, geochemical, chemical, tracer, archive
Additional Information: This is the first corrected version
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2017 22:57
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2022 05:15


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