Articles | Volume 12, issue 14
Research article
18 Jul 2012
Research article |  | 18 Jul 2012

Spatial distribution of mercury deposition fluxes in Wanshan Hg mining area, Guizhou province, China

Z. H. Dai, X. B. Feng, J. Sommar, P. Li, and X. W. Fu

Abstract. The legacy of long-term mining activities in Wanshan mercury (Hg) mining area (WMMA), Guizhou, China including a series of environmental issues related to Hg pollution. The spatial distribution of gaseous elemental mercury (Hg0) concentrations in ambient air were monitored using a mobile RA-915+ Zeeman Mercury Analyzer during daytime and night time in May 2010. The data imply that calcines and mine wastes piles located at Dashuixi and on-going artisanal Hg mining activities at Supeng were major sources of atmospheric mercury in WMMA. For a full year (May 2010 to May 2011), sampling of precipitation and throughfall were conducted on a weekly basis at three sites (Shenchong, Dashuixi, and Supeng) within WMMA. Hg in deposition was characterized by analysis of total Hg (THg) and dissolved Hg (DHg) concentrations. The corresponding data exhibit a high degree of variability, both temporarily and spatially. The volume-weighted mean THg concentrations in precipitation and throughfall samples were 502.6 ng l−1 and 977.8 ng l−1 at Shenchong, 814.1 ng l−1and 3392.1 ng l−1 at Dashuixi, 7490.1 ng l−1and 9641.5 ng l−1 at Supeng, respectively. THg was enhanced in throughfall compared to wet deposition samples by up to a factor of 7. The annual wet Hg deposition fluxes were 29.1, 68.8 and 593.1 μg m−2 yr−1 at Shenchong, Dashuixi and Supeng, respectively, while the annual dry Hg deposition fluxes were estimated to be 378.9, 2613.6 and 6178 μg m−2 yr−1 at these sites, respectively. Dry deposition played a dominant role in total atmospheric Hg deposition in WMMA since the dry deposition fluxes were 10.4–37.9 times higher than the wet deposition fluxes during the whole sample period. Our data showed that air deposition was still an important pathway of Hg contamination to the local environment in WMMA.

Final-revised paper