Gaiero, Diego M. and Probst, Jean-Luc and Depetris, Pedro J. and Lelyter, L. and Kempe, Stefan Riverine transfer of heavy metals from Patagonia to the southwestern Atlantic Ocean. (2002) Regional Environmental Change, vol. 3 (n° 1-3). pp. 51-64. ISSN 1436-3798
(Document in English)
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10113-001-0040-x
The occurrence and geochemical behaviour of Fe, Mn, Pb, Cu, Ni, Cr, Zn and Co are studied in riverine detrital materials transported by Patagonian rivers. Their riverine inputs have been estimated and the nature of these inputs to the Atlantic Ocean is discussed. Most of the metals are transported to the ocean via the suspended load; there is evidence that Fe oxides and organic matter are important phases controlling their distribution in the detrital non-residual fraction. Most heavy metal concentrations found in bed sediments, in suspended matter, and in the dissolved load of Patagonian rivers were comparable to those reported for non-polluted rivers. There is indication that human activity is altering riverine metal inputs to the ocean. In the northern basins – and indicatinganthropogenic effects – heavy metals distribution in the suspended load is very different from that found in bed sediments. The use of pesticides in the Negro River valley seems correlated with increased riverine input of Cu, mostly bound to the suspended load. The Deseado and Chico Rivers exhibit increased specific yield of metals as a consequence of extended erosion within their respective basins. The Santa Cruz is the drainage basin least affected by human activity and its metal-exporting capacity should be taken as an example of a relatively unaffected large hydrological system. In contrast, coal mining modifies the transport pattern of heavy metals in the Gallegos River, inasmuch as they are exported to the coastal zone mainly as dissolved load.
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