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Reconstruction of temporal variations of metal concentrations using radiochronology (239+240Pu and 137Cs) in sediments from Kizilirmak River, Turkey

Abstract

Sediment cores retrieved from rivers, lakes, and coastal marine environment have been widely utilized to reconstruct historical variations of anthropogenic pollutants. A sediment core was collected in the Kizilirmak River, Turkey during 2014 and analyzed for a suite of metals (Cu, Pb, Zn, Ag, Ni, Co, Mn, As, Cd, Sb, V, Cr, Hg and Se) to reconstruct their temporal variations. Chronology was attempted using excess 210Pb (210Pbxs), 137Cs and 239,240Pu in the sediment cores. The vertical profile of excess 210Pb indicates that this core is not datable using excess 210Pb method. The 137Cs-based linear and mass apparent accumulation rates were estimated to be 0.84 cm year−1 and 0.93 g cm−2 year−1, respectively. These values are in agreement with the 239+240Pu peak-based linear (0.88 cm year−1) and mass apparent accumulation (0.97 g cm−2 year−1) rates. There is considerable broadening in the peaks of both 137Cs and 239,240Pu, likely due to post-depositional mixing processes. The measured sediment inventories of 210Pbxs, 137Cs and 239+240Pu were 38, 29, and 0.42 dpm cm−2, respectively, which were generally higher than the expected inventories based on local atmospheric depositional inventories. We attribute these enhanced inventories to potential sediment focusing and additional watershed erosional input. The Al-normalized enrichment factors (ANEF) were used to evaluate the contribution from natural versus anthropogenic sources. The ANEF of Ag, Ni, As, Cd and Se were > 1.5, which suggests a significant contribution of anthropogenic sources for these trace metals varied between 226% and 1163%. The geoaccumulation index (Igeo) values of the sediment column suggest that Cu, Pb, Zn, Co, Mn, Sb, V and Hg were in an unpolluted level and the others were in a polluted level. Besides, both the ANEF and Igeo values of Cu, Pb, Zn, Ag, As, Se, Cd and Hg showed a peak at 28–30 cm layer (corresponds to 1978–1981), which is attributed to maximum metal release during 1970s.

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Acknowledgements

The sediment core sampling component of this work was supported by Nevsehir HBV University research project NEUBAP14F4. Radiochemical work was conducted at the Geology Department at Wayne State University partially supported by the Urban Watershed Environmental Research Group (UWERG). Jinlong Wang would like to thank the support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41706089). Omer Bilhan would like to thank the Geology Department in Nevsehir HBV University in Turkey for sub-sampling the sediment core for the use of their laboratory.

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Wang, J., Baskaran, M., Kumar, A. et al. Reconstruction of temporal variations of metal concentrations using radiochronology (239+240Pu and 137Cs) in sediments from Kizilirmak River, Turkey. J Paleolimnol 65, 137–149 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10933-020-00154-w

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