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Total mercury in snow and ice samples from Canadian High Arctic ice caps and glaciers: A practical procedure and method for total Hg quantification at low pg g− 1 level

The Science of The Total Environment
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.08.078
  • Total Mercury
  • Thg Quantification
  • Method
  • Snow Sample
  • Ice Core
  • Arctic


Abstract A newly developed procedure and method for studying total Hg (THg) in the High Arctic glaciers and ice caps, including container type selection, on-site sampling, sample protection and storage, and sample decontamination is reported in this study. Two analytical systems for THg quantification were also compared to confirm the accuracy and reproducibility. This study found that container types, storage time, sample protection from exposure to light and environment are all important for precise quantification of THg in snow and ice samples from the Canadian High Arctic glaciers and ice caps. With this newly developed procedure and method, we retrieved 28-year and 73-year archives for atmospheric THg deposition from Mt. Oxford and Agassiz Ice Cap respectively. Our results show that snow and ice samples contain THg concentrations varying from sub pgg−1 to low pgg−1. Comparison of THg concentration trends and fluxes from the two sites demonstrates that quantification of THg from the two locations with similar altitudes and latitudes can be reproducible, which suggests that historical THg information from atmospheric deposition can be preserved in snow and ice in the glaciers and ice caps. The high reproducibility of results achieved by this procedure and method, in return, confirmed its suitability for studies of THg in snow and ice samples from ice caps and glaciers.

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