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Tracing sources and fate of zinc in a mining-impacted river catchment: insights\ud from flow measurements, synoptic sampling, and zinc isotopes

By Barbara Palumbo-Roe, Vanessa J. Banks, Simon Chenery and Dominik Weiss

Abstract

This paper reports on the comprehensive monitoring of the Rookhope Burn catchment in the\ud Weardale valley, northern Pennines (Uk), which has been subject to lead, zinc, and fluorspar mining for\ud over two centuries. Zinc is the major contaminant in surface waters, exceeding the Environmental Quality\ud standard value for salmonid fish. synoptic flow monitoring and water sampling have been carried\ud out, including both inflow and instream sampling points along the Rookhope Burn, with the purpose\ud of tracing both point and diffuse sources of Zn throughout the catchment. The Zn load profile suggests\ud an important role for Zn-rich groundwater contributions to the stream bed and has also established the\ud existence of Zn sinks. Evidence from hyporheic zone sampling suggests Zn reaction or surface complexation\ud with Mn oxide surfaces forming on stream bed sediments as a potential mechanism responsible\ud for the observed metal attenuation. Current work is focused on testing the potential of Zn isotopes to\ud fingerprint sources and pathways of Zn in the aquatic system. Preliminary results show significant variation\ud in the stream water Zn isotopic signature from the headwaters to the base of the catchment

Topics: Earth Sciences
Publisher: CBU Press
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:nora.nerc.ac.uk:11132

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