Lake Sediment Records of Preindustrial Metal Pollution

  • Colin A. CookeEmail author
  • Richard Bindler
Part of the Developments in Paleoenvironmental Research book series (DPER, volume 18)


The extraction of mineral resources has been occurring for millennia in both the Old and New Worlds. Lake sediments can archive the environmental legacy of these preindustrial activities, offering an independent method for understanding the magnitude and spatial extent of metal pollution through time. A number of geochemical records of past metal pollution within lake sediments have now been completed across especially Europe and the South American Andes, revealing histories of metal pollution that extend back over millennia. The use of paleolimnological techniques is refining our understanding of spatial and temporal differences in mineral resource extractions and use, and offers the opportunity to understand the degree to which human activities have mobilized metals from geologic stores into the biosphere.


Geochemistry Mining Metallurgy Pollution Lead Mercury Metals 



C.A. Cooke extends a special thank you to Drs. Mark Abbott and Alexander Wolfe for their support during the preparation of this manuscript and for supporting many years of research in the Andes. We also wish to thank three reviewers and the editors who substantially improved an earlier draft.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Alberta Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting AgencyAvenue EdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Ecology and Environmental SciencesUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden

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