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Elemental Composition of Surface Waters in the Antarctic Peninsula and Interactions with the Environment

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The fast changes in chemical and biological properties of many coastal and inland waters in the last decades reflect the pressure of man on the environment. The surface waters of the Antarctic Peninsula, located far from industrial or populated areas, could eventually be used as background lines. Surface water samples were taken from five lagoons of King George Island, Antarctic Peninsula, and from the Kitiesh Lake. Sample pH and electrical conductivity were analysed in situ and in the laboratory, respectively. The dissolved fractions were analysed in 1997 and 1998. Total concentrations only for 1998 were determined in another fraction adjusted to pH 2. Aluminium, Ca, Cr, Mn, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Sr, Cd, Sn, Sb, Ba, Bi, and Pb were quantified in all samples by means of inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Total and dissolved elemental concentrations were discussed considering the composition of particulate material suspended in the waters removed by streams or by water runoff, or from atmospheric aerosols. Concentrations of dissolved elements change from one lagoon to another. Total and dissolved elemental concentrations could be related to water movement by windstorms, to chemical mechanisms in water and/or to natural and anthropogenic atmospheric factors.

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Correspondence to Margarita Préndez.

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Préndez, M., Adriana Carrasco, M. Elemental Composition of Surface Waters in the Antarctic Peninsula and Interactions with the Environment. Environmental Geochemistry and Health 25, 347–363 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1024559809076

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  • Antarctic surface waters
  • local and long-range atmospheric aerosols
  • snow-water-soil and rock interaction
  • total and dissolved elements