Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp 1085–1096 | Cite as

A 200-year record of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons contamination in an ombrotrophic peatland in Great Hinggan Mountain, northeast China

  • Kun-shan Bao
  • Ji Shen
  • Yan Zhang
  • Jian Wang
  • Guo-ping WangEmail author


Peat bogs are regarded as one of the faithful archives of atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) deposition, and a large number of studies on PAHs accumulation in peatlands have been reported in Europe and North America. Comparatively little information is available on peat chronological records of atmospheric PAHs flux in China. We investigated the concentrations and historical accumulation rates of PAHs (AR PAHs) through geochemical analysis of three 210Pb-dated ombrotrophic peat cores from Great Hinggan Mountain, northeast China. Eight USEPA priority PAHs were detected and they are naphthalene (Nap), acenaphthylene (Acl), acenaphthene (Ace), fluorence (Flu), phenanthrene (Phe), anthracene (Ant), fluoranthene (Fla) and pyrene (Pyr), respectively. The average total eight PAHs (tPAHs) concentrations are 135.98–262.43 μg kg−1 and the average AR tPAHs over the last two centuries are 96.45–135.98 μg m−2 yr−1. The Ace, Acl and Phe account for 30.93–54.04%, 25.29–35.81%, and 9.14–19.84% of the tPAHs, respectively, and have significant positive correlations with the tPAH. As a result, they are regarded as the iconic compounds of PAHs pollution in this area. A ca. 200-yr atmospheric PAHs contamination history was reconstructed from the temporal sequences of both concentration and AR tPAHs, suggesting the variation of local environmental pollution. The main sources of the PAHs are identified by two isomer ratios as petrogenic origin including oil extraction and refining process as well as their combustions for industrial development. In addition, the contribution of coal combustion for industrial activities and resident heating could not be ignored. But prior to 1860, the undeveloped industry and most of agricultural activities might mainly account for the low level of PAHs, although it could infer a long-range input of atmospheric PAHs from other industrial areas. Therefore, there is a global implication to study longterm PAHs pollution records and all the results will provide practical significance in formulating policies to achieve sustainable and healthy development.


Ombrotrophic peatland polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) Lead-210 Environmental pollution 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kun-shan Bao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ji Shen
    • 1
  • Yan Zhang
    • 2
  • Jian Wang
    • 2
  • Guo-ping Wang
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Lake Science and Environment, Nanjing Institute of Geography and LimnologyChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Wetland Ecology and Environment, Northeast Institute of Geography and AgroecologyChinese Academy of SciencesChangchunChina

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