Analysis of acid-leachable barium, copper, iron, lead, & zinc concentrations in Taylor Valley, Antarctic stream sediments

TitleAnalysis of acid-leachable barium, copper, iron, lead, & zinc concentrations in Taylor Valley, Antarctic stream sediments
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsPiergallini, B, W. Lyons, B
Academic DepartmentSchool of Earth Sciences
Date Published05/2020
UniversityThe Ohio State University
CityColumbus, OH
Thesis Typebachelors
Keywordsacid-leachable metal, Antarctica, geochemistry, McMurdo Dry Valleys, polar sediments, sedimentation rate

The purpose of this study is to assess the concentrations of Barium (Ba), Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), Lead (Pb), and Zinc (Zn) in sediment samples obtained from the Wales and Commonwealth streams located in Taylor Valley, Antarctica. These samples were collected at seven sample sites (three in Wales Glacier and four in Commonwealth Glacier) in 0 to 2 cm, 2 to 4 cm, 4 to 6 cm, and 6 to 8 cm depth increments which resulted in 28 total samples. After the collection process, these samples underwent a volumetric 1:5 sediment: 10% HCl leach for 48 hours, filtration through 4-┬Ám pore-size, cellulose acetate membrane filters, and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) analyses in the Trace Element Research Laboratory at The Ohio State University. Upon completion of the analyses, results showed that the Wales samples had a higher average concentration of every metal element overall and at each depth increment when compared to the Commonwealth samples. In addition to the weak-acid leachate metal analyses, a second aliquot of one sediment profile from each stream was analyzed at Villanova University for the 210Pb activity via gamma spectroscopy. This was done to estimate the sedimentation rates at each of these sites. From the sedimentation rates, sedimentation fluxes were calculated for each element for each sediment profile at each of these sites. The data demonstrated that Fe is the most abundant element while Pb is the least abundant. Lastly, upon examination of results, it was found that the concentrations of these metals are often higher in samples collected closer to the surface. These findings suggest these streams, and their sources, have had little, if any, impact by anthropogenic input of metals, and that metal fluxes to the sediments are low.