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Background Levels of Metals in Soils, McMurdo Station, Antarctica

Authors
  • Crockett, Alan B.1
  • 1 Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory, Lockheed Martin Idaho Technologies Company, Idaho Falls, Idaho, 83415-2213, U.S.A. , Idaho Falls
Type
Published Article
Journal
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
May 01, 1998
Volume
50
Issue
3
Pages
289–296
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1023/A:1005837100718
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

McMurdo Station is the largest research station in Antarctica, with a population that ranges each year from 250 to 1200 people. Because of its size and 40-year history of use, a number of locations around the station have become contaminated with wastes. Soils and sediments in these areas have been shown to contain elevated levels of petroleum-related products, PCBs, other organics, and metals. While some remedial investigations have been conducted, background levels of metals in soils have not been determined. This paper reports on background levels of metals in a natural basalt-derived soil (‘gray soil’) and scoria (soft porous rock used as fill, ‘red soil’) near McMurdo Station using two fundamentally different analytical procedures, concentrated acid extraction/analysis and total metals. These data facilitate determining the extent and levels of metal contamination near McMurdo Station and provide reference levels of metals for comparison with existing and future remediation data. There were statistically significant differences between metals concentrations in both gray and red soils, and no correlations between the level of extracted versus total metal. Generally, only a small fraction of a metal was extractable.

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