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Concentration level and distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in soil and grass around Mt. Qomolangma, China

  • Articles
  • Geochemistry
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Chinese Science Bulletin

Abstract

High mountains may serve as a condenser for persistent organic pollutants. In the present study, soil and grass samples from Mt. Qomolangma region, China were collected from 4600 to 5620 m a.s.l and were analyzed for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to determine if they are concentrated at colder, more elevated sites and to evaluate their possible resources and fractionation. The total PAHs concentration in soil samples was < 600 ng g−1, the critical value to differentiate PAHs levels in remote and urban regions. This implied the PAHs levels at Mt. Qomolangma are relatively low and what one might expect in such a remote region of the world. These low values may represent a soil background for mid-latitude Northern Hemisphere soils away from the direct influence of an anthropogenic source. As for the distribution pattern, the low molecular weight PAHs were prone to accumulate at higher altitude, while the high molecular weight PAHs inversely related or unrelated with elevation. Based on high concentration of phenanthrene at elevated sample site and the ratios of individual PAHs, we deduced that home-heating combustion and vehicle emission may result in the constitution trait of PAHs in this mountain region. Monsoon traveling over India, Pakistan and other countries with dense population may carry contaminant to Mt. Qomolangma region.

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Correspondence to Wang XiaoPing.

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Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 40121101, 40501018 and 40401054), the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China (Grant No. 2005CB422004), the “Talent Project” of Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Social Commonweal Research Project of Ministry of Science and Technology of China (Grant No. 2005DIA3J106)

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Wang, X., Yao, T., Cong, Z. et al. Concentration level and distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in soil and grass around Mt. Qomolangma, China. CHINESE SCI BULL 52, 1405–1413 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11434-007-0184-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11434-007-0184-2

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