Influences upon the Lead Isotopic Composition of Organic and Mineral Horizons in Soil Profiles from the National Soil Inventory of Scotland (2007-09)

John Farmer, Margaret Graham, Lorna J. Eades, Alan Lilly, Jeffrey R. Bacon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Some 644 individual soil horizons from 169 sites in Scotland were analysed for Pb concentration and isotopic composition. There were three scenarios: (i) 36 sites where both top and bottom (i.e. lowest sampled) soil horizons were classified as organic in nature, (ii) 67 with an organic top but mineral bottom soil horizon, and (iii) 66 where both top and bottom soil horizons were mineral. Lead concentrations were greater in the top horizon relative to the bottom horizon in all but a few cases. The top horizon 206Pb/207Pb ratio was lesser (outside analytical error) than the corresponding bottom horizon 206Pb/207Pb ratio at (i) 64%, (ii) 94% and (iii) 73% of sites, and greater at only (i) 8%, (ii) 3% and (iii) 8% of sites. A plot of 208Pb/207Pb vs. 208Pb/206Pb ratios showed that the Pb in organic top (i, ii) and bottom (i) horizons was consistent with atmospherically deposited Pb of anthropogenic origin. The 206Pb/207Pb ratio of the organic top horizon in (ii) was unrelated to the 206Pb/207Pb ratio of the mineral bottom horizon as demonstrated by the geographical variation in the negative shift in the ratio, a result of differences in the mineral horizon values arising from the greater influence of radiogenic Pb in the north. In (iii), the lesser values of the 206Pb/207Pb ratio for the mineral top horizon relative to the mineral bottom horizon were consistent with the presence of anthropogenic Pb, in addition to indigenous Pb, in the former. Mean anthropogenic Pb inventories of 1.5 and 4.5 g m-2 were obtained for the northern and southern halves of Scotland, respectively, consistent with long-range atmospheric transport of anthropogenic Pb (mean 206Pb/207Pb ratio ~1.16). For cultivated agricultural soils (Ap), this corresponded to about half of the total Pb inventory in the top 30 cm of the soil column.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)730–743
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume544
Early online date10 Dec 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2016

Keywords

  • Pb
  • isotope ratios
  • organic soil
  • mineral soil
  • Scotland

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