Comparative study of the temporal evolution of atmospheric lead deposition in Scotland and eastern Canada using blanket peat bogs

Dominik Weiss, William Shotyk, Edward A. Boyle, Jan D. Kramers, Peter G. Appleby, Andriy K. Cheburkin

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91 Citations (Scopus)


The temporal evolution of atmospheric lead deposition and its possible sources were assessed in eastern Canada and in western Scotland, using blanket peat bogs as geochemical archives. Short cores were taken from two remote sites located close to the sea. Significant lead enrichments in the upper layers at both sites reflect the increasing emission of lead into the atmosphere due to anthropogenic activities during the last century. At the Scottish site, a region under aeolian influence from Europe, anthropogenic derived lead could be recognized by the distinctive unradiogenic composition (206Pb/207Pb ratios down to ∼1.115), being clearly different from the pre-industrial values (206Pb/207Pb ∼1.166). In contrast, the lead pollution in eastern Canada (influenced by North American sources) is identified by a more radiogenic lead isotope composition (206Pb/207Pb ratios up to ∼1.199) compared to pre-industrial values (206Pb/207Pb ∼1.161). Emission inventories and isotope characteristics suggest that industrial (coal burning, mining) and traffic (leaded gasoline) outputs are the most likely sources during the first and the second half of the 20th century, respectively, in both, western Scotland and eastern Canada alike. The Scottish record is in line with previous studies of past atmospheric lead deposition. However, the Canadian deposit suggests that the wind derived, pre-industrial lead, is less radiogenic as previously implied using sediment archives. These results are thus the first to report pre-industrial lead isotope ratios and concentrations of atmospheric derived aerosols in North America.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-18
Number of pages12
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Atmospheric lead
  • Blanket peat bogs
  • Canada
  • Scotland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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