Advertisement

Water, Air, & Soil Pollution

, Volume 216, Issue 1–4, pp 73–82 | Cite as

Changes in Mercury Deposition in a Mining and Smelting Region as Recorded in Tree Rings

  • Maria HojdováEmail author
  • Tomáš Navrátil
  • Jan Rohovec
  • Karel Žák
  • Aleš Vaněk
  • Vladislav Chrastný
  • Radek Bače
  • Miroslav Svoboda
Article

Abstract

Metal mining and processing in the central Czech Republic has led to the contamination of surrounding soils and vegetation. In this study, Hg concentrations were measured in spruce (Picea abies L.) and beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) tree rings to monitor historical Hg deposition in the area. The highest Hg concentrations were found in spruce at an HgS smelting contaminated site (up to 15 ng g−1), probably reflecting smelting activities at the end of the nineteenth century. In the vicinity of a Pb smelter, Hg concentrations increased from the 1950s to maxima (up to 8.4 ng g−1) in the 1970s, corresponding with a peak of metallurgical production and smelter emissions in the mid 1970s. A decreasing trend in Hg concentrations since the 1980s was probably related to improvements in flue gas cleaning technologies. The beech trees, which grow at a site between two smelters and range in age from 150 to 220 years, seem to reflect deposition from both point sources. Mercury levels in beech trees were lower, that resulting from their greater distance from pollution sources, but the concentration trend was strongly correlated with metal production. Analysis of nutrient elements (Ca, Mg, K and Mn) in wood revealed environmental changes related to acid deposition, but a relation between concentration trends of nutrients and Hg was not found. This study shows that tree rings may be a good record of Hg deposition in areas affected by ore mining and smelting. Nevertheless, further investigation of Hg cycling in trees is necessary to satisfactorily interpret this particular historical Hg record.

Keywords

Mercury Dendrochemistry Trees Geochemical archives Czech Republic 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was funded by the grant of the Czech Science Foundation GAČR, (no. 526/09/P404) and the project of the Ministry of the Environment of the CR (SP/2d2/111/08). Long-term financial support was provided by the Institute of Geology of ASCR (project no. AV0Z30130516). We thank Dr. Zuzana Chládová, Institute of Atmospheric Physics ASCR for computing wind directions and Dr. Petr Skřivan for helpful comments on manuscript.

References

  1. Augustin, S., Stephanowitz, H., Wolff, B., Schröder, J., & Hoffmann, E. (2005). Manganese in tree rings of Norway spruce as an indicator for soil chemical changes in the past. European Journal of Forest Research, 124, 313–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bambas, J. (1990). Březohorský rudní revír (Ore district of Březové Hory). Symposium hornická Příbram ve vědě a technice. VZ Kamenná Publications, 198 pp (in Czech).Google Scholar
  3. Becnel, J., Falgeust, C., Cavalier, T., Gauthreaux, K., Landry, F., Blanchard, M., et al. (2004). Correlation of mercury concentrations in tree core and lichen samples in southeastern Louisiana. Microchem J, 78, 205–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bindler, R., Renberg, I., Klaminder, J., & Emteryd, O. (2004). Tree rings as Pb pollution archives? A comparison of 206Pb/207Pb isotope ratios in pine and other environmental media. The Science of the Total Environment, 319, 173–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bishop, K. H., Lee, Y.-H., Munthe, J., & Dambrine, E. (1998). Xylem sap as a pathway for total mercury and methylmercury transport from soils to tree canopy in the boreal forest. Biogeochemistry, 40, 101–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bushey, J. T., Nallana, A. G., Montesdeoca, M. R., & Driscoll, C. T. (2008). Mercury dynamics of a northern hardwood canopy. Atmospheric Environment, 42, 6905–6914.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cheng, Z., Buckley, B. M., Katz, B., Wright, W., Bailey, R., Smith, K. T., et al. (2007). Arsenic in tree rings at a highly contaminated site. The Science of the Total Environment, 376, 324–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cutter, B. E., & Guyette, P. R. (1993). Anatomical, chemical, and ecological factors affecting tree species choice in dendrochemistry studies. Journal of Environmental Quality, 22, 611–619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Eklund, M. (1995). Cadmium and lead deposition around a Swedish battery plant as record in oak tree rings. Journal of Environmental Quality, 24, 126–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ericksen, J. A., Gustin, M. S., Schorran, D. E., Johnson, D. W., Lindberg, S. E., & Coleman, J. S. (2003). Accumulation of atmospheric mercury in forest foliage. Atmospheric Environment, 37, 1613–1622.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ettler, V., Johan, Z., Baronnet, A., Jankovský, F., Gilles, C., Mihaljevič, M., et al. (2005). Mineralogy of air-pollution-control residues from a secondary lead smelter: Environmental implications. Environmental Science & Technology, 39, 9309–9316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ettler, V., Rohovec, J., Navrátil, T., & Mihaljevič, M. (2007). Mercury distribution in soil profiles polluted by lead smelting. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 78, 12–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ettler, V., Navrátil, T., Mihaljevič, M., Rohovec, J., Zuna, M., Šebek, M., et al. (2008). Mercury deposition/accumulation rates in the vicinity of a lead smelter as recorded by a peat deposit. Atmospheric Environment, 42, 5968–5977.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations) (2006). World reference base for soil resources. World Soil Resources Reports No. 103, FAO, Rome.Google Scholar
  15. Fitzgerald, W. F., Engstrom, D. R., Mason, R. P., & Nater, E. A. (1998). The case for atmospheric mercury contamination in remote areas. Environmental Science & Technology, 32, 1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Graydon, J. A., StLouis, V. L., Hintelmann, H., Lindberg, S. E., & Sandilands, K. A. (2009). Investigation of uptake and retention of atmospheric Hg(II) by boreal forest plants using stable Hg isotopes. Environmental Science and Technology, 43, 4960–4966.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hagemeyer, J. (1995). Radial distribution of Cd in stems of oak trees (Quercus robur L.) re-analyzed after 10 years. Trees, 9, 200–203.Google Scholar
  18. Hanslian, D., & Pop, L. (2008) The technical potential of wind energy and a new wind atlas of the Czech Republic. Proceedings of European Wind Energy Conference, Brussels.Google Scholar
  19. Hojdová, M., Navrátil, T., Rohovec, J., Penížek, V., & Grygar, T. (2009). Mercury distribution and speciation in soils affected by historic mercury mining. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 200, 89–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kopáček, J., & Veselý, J. (2005). Sulfur and nitrogen emissions in the Czech Republic and Slovakia from 1850 till 2000. Atmospheric Environment, 39, 2179–3188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lindberg, S. E., Meyers, T. P., Taylor, G. E., Turner, R. R., & Schroeder, W. H. (1992). Atmosphere-surface exchange of mercury in a forest: Results of modeling and gradient approaches. Journal of Geophysical Research, 97, 2519–2528.Google Scholar
  22. Meerts, P. (2002). Mineral nutrient concentrations in sapwood and heartwood: A literature review. Annals of Forest Science, 59, 713–722.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mihaljevič, M., Zuna, M., Ettler, V., Chrastný, V., Šebek, O., Strnad, L., et al. (2008). A comparison of tree rings and peat deposit geochemical archives in the vicinity of a lead smelter. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 188, 311–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Navrátil, T., Shanley, J. B., Skřivan, P., Krám, P., Mihaljevič, M., & Drahota, P. (2007). Manganese biogeochemistry in a central Czech Republic catchment. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 186, 149–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Pansu, M., & Gautheyrou, J. (2006). Handbook of soil analysis. Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rea, A. W., Lindberg, S. E., Scherbatskoy, T., & Keeler, G. J. (2002). Mercury accumulation in foliage over time in two northern mixedhardwood forests. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 133, 49–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rieuwerts, J. S., & Farago, M. (1996). Mercury concentrations in a historic lead mining and smelting town in the Czech Republic: A pilot study. The Science of the Total Environment, 188, 167–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sattran, V., Maňour, J., Odehnal, L., Pták, J., & Zima, L. (1978). Regional prognosis of Hg-mineralization in Bohemian Massif. Technical Report, Czech Geological Survey, Prague, 139 pp (in Czech).Google Scholar
  29. Schwesig, D., & Krebs, O. (2003). The role of ground vegetation in the uptake of mercury and methylmercury in a forest ecosystem. Plant and Soil, 253, 445–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schwesig, D., Ilgen, G., & Matzner, E. (1999). Mercury and methylmercury in upland and wetland acid forest soils of a watershed in NE-Bavaria, Germany. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 113, 141–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Skřivan, P., Navrátil, T., Vach, M., Sequens, J., Burian, M., & Kvídová, O. (2002). Biogeochemical cycles of metals in the environment: Factors controlling their content in the tissues of selected forest tree species. Scientia Agriculturae Bohemica, 33, 71–78.Google Scholar
  32. Suchara, I., & Sucharová, J. (2004). Distribution of 36 element deposition rates in a historic mining and smelting area as determined through fine-scale biomonitoring techniques. Part I: Relative and absolute current atmospheric deposition levels detected by moss analyses. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 153, 205–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Velebil, D. (2003). Jedová hora Hill (Dědova hora Hill, Giftberg) near Neřežín Czech Republic. Bulletin mineralogicko-petrologického oddêlení Národního Muzea v Praze, 11, 86–99 (in Czech).Google Scholar
  34. Vurm, K. (2001) Dějiny příbramské hutě [The History of the Příbram Smelter]. Kovohutě Příbram Editions (in Czech).Google Scholar
  35. Watmough, S. A. (1999). Monitoring historical changes in soil and atmospheric trace metal levels by dendrochemical analysis. Environmental Pollution, 106, 391–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Watmough, S. A., & Hutchinson, T. C. (2002). Historical changes in lead concentration in tree-rings of sycamore, oak and Scots pine in north-west England. The Science of the Total Environment, 293, 85–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Watmough, S. A., & Hutchinson, T. C. (2003). Uptake of 207Pb and 111Cd through bark of mature sugar maple, white ash and white pine: A field experiment. Environmental Pollution, 121, 39–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Zhang, L., Qian, J.-L., & Planas, D. (1995). Mercury concentration in tree rings of black spruce (Picea mariana Mill. B.S.P.) in boreal Quebec, Canada. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 81, 163–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Žák, K., Rohovec, J., & Navrátil, T. (2009). Fluxes of heavy metals from a highly polluted watershed during flood events: A case study of the Litavka River, Czech Republic. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 203, 343–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Hojdová
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tomáš Navrátil
    • 1
  • Jan Rohovec
    • 1
  • Karel Žák
    • 1
  • Aleš Vaněk
    • 2
  • Vladislav Chrastný
    • 3
    • 4
  • Radek Bače
    • 5
  • Miroslav Svoboda
    • 5
  1. 1.Institute of Geology, Academy of SciencesPrague 6Czech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Soil Science and Soil ProtectionCzech University of Life Sciences PraguePrague 6Czech Republic
  3. 3.Czech Geological SurveyPrague 5Czech Republic
  4. 4.Faculty of ScienceUniversity of South BohemiaČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic
  5. 5.Faculty of Forestry and Wood SciencesCzech University of Life Sciences PraguePrague 6Czech Republic

Personalised recommendations