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      Horizontal and vertical variabilities of mercury concentration and speciation in sediments of the Gdansk Basin, Southern Baltic Sea.

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      Chemosphere

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          Abstract

          The mercury compounds introduced to the environment because of anthropogenic activity are accumulated, mainly, in marine sediments. Both distribution of mercury in the Baltic Sea and factors affecting it are remain largely unknown. Due to its complex chemistry and variable conditions in the Baltic Sea bottom sediments, mercury may be reemitted to the overlaying water, and thus to the environment. The aim of this study was twofold. Total mercury contents were measured in sediments of the Gdansk Basin along a Vistula mouth (main source)--Gdansk Deep (deposition area) transect in order to assess spatial distribution of the element. Soft and sandy bottom sediment cores were collected and cut into slices. The mercury measurements consisted of acid digestion followed by CV-AAS determination. A five-step sequential extraction procedure involving measurements of mercury species water soluble, bound to humic substances and insoluble, was employed in order to investigate mercury speciation. On the basis of speciation results stability and remobilisation potential was assessed. The second aim was demonstrating that mercury gradients in vertical profiles of the investigated sediment cores exist. Total mercury contents varied in range from 28 ng/g x dw to 844 ng/g. Mercury associated with organic matter and sulphides, (respectively 39% and 49%) were the dominant species of the element. The results indicated that the river run-off is a source of mercury in the area. Vertical gradients of both total content and speciation of mercury in the soft sediments were attributed to both remobilisation from sediments, and decreasing trend in the anthropogenic load of the element deposited to sediments.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Chemosphere
          Chemosphere
          0045-6535
          0045-6535
          Jul 2003
          : 52
          : 3
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, ul Powstancow Warszawy 55, PO Box 68, 81-712, Sopot, Poland. hydron@iopan.gda.pl
          Article
          S0045-6535(03)00246-7
          10.1016/S0045-6535(03)00246-7
          12738302

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