Use of 206Pb/207Pb ratios to investigate the surface integrity of peat cores used to study the recent depositional history and geochemical behaviour of inorganic elements in peat bogs

J. G. Farmer*, M. C. Graham, C. Yafa, J. M. Cloy, A. J. Freeman, A. B. MacKenzie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The well characterised temporal trend in the 206Pb/207Pb atom ratio of atmospheric lead deposition in Scotland during the 20th century was used to investigate the surface integrity of several cores collected by different methods from Flanders Moss ombrotrophic peat bog, central Scotland, during 1996-2001. Based on 206Pb/207Pb profile comparisons, in conjunction with identified 210Pb radionuclide inventory deficits for two of the cores, it was deduced that 25 ± 7 yrs worth of material was missing from the more seriously affected core. After allowing for an appropriate vertical offset based on 206Pb/207Pb profile matching, the subsequent matching of profiles of titanium, lead, sulfur, arsenic, iron, phosphorus and manganese in three cores for which total concentration data were available was excellent. Without such offset correction, erroneous conclusions could have been drawn concerning the recent historical record of anthropogenic lead and arsenic deposition, the position of the redox boundary, which controls geochemical cycling and enrichment of iron, and the nutrient recycling status of manganese and phosphorus in the near-surface vegetation. Topographic, vegetative and coring (both device and operator) influences may have been responsible, thus endorsing the use of reliable, multiple core sampling and the use of lead isotope ratio profiles, supplemented by appropriate radionuclide data, in both assessing and ensuring the surface integrity of peat cores.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-248
Number of pages9
JournalGlobal and Planetary Change
Volume53
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Pb inventories
  • deposition
  • elements
  • geochemistry
  • peat
  • stable lead isotopes

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