Concentrations, isotopic compositions, and sources of lead in the surface waters of the Eastern Tropical South Pacific

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Ralph Till, Cheryl M Zurbrick and Arthur Russell Flegal Jr, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, United States
Lead concentrations and isotopic compositions were measured in surface and subsurface waters across the Eastern Tropical South Pacific as part of the 2013 US GEOTRACES Zonal Transect from Peru to Tahiti. Surface waters were collected throughout the transect, and subsurface waters were collected to a depth of 1,000 m at 36 vertical profile stations. Aliquots of some of those samples, as well as samples from greater depths, were used in intercalibrations with Ed Boyle’s group, which focused on lead fluxes from hydrothermal vents and at the benthic boundary layer. In contrast, our group focused on aeolian lead fluxes to surface waters from natural and industrial sources. Preliminary data indicate that lead concentrations in those South Pacific surface waters are low compared to the more contaminated North Pacific. Moreover, complementary lead isotopic compositions indicate distinguishing between natural and industrial lead fluxes in the South Pacific will be more difficult now that the use of gasoline with lead alkyls from Australia have been eliminated.