2000 years of sediment-borne heavy metal storage in the Yorkshire Ouse basin, NE England, UK

Karen A. Hudson-Edwards*, Mark G. Macklin, Mark P. Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


Floodplain overbank sediments are often used to evaluate the influence of environmental change on sediment and chemical fluxes within river basins. This paper presents the results of an investigation of heavy metal storage in seven floodplain reaches in the Yorkshire Ouse basin in north-east England. Floodplain heavy metal storage has been greatest since c. 1750, and many of the post-1750 sedimentary units exhibit heavy metal values that exceed recommended trigger and guideline values for contaminated land. Relatively high heavy metal storage occurs from AD 1250-1750 in most of the reaches. These patterns are related to 2000 years of Pb and Zn mining in the Yorkshire Dales and c. 250-300 years of industrial and urbanization activity around Leeds and Bradford, and increased delivery of fine-grained sediment during the last millennium, possibly owing to factors such as population growth and agricultural expansion during the Middle Ages, and climate change during the Little Ice Age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1087-1102
Number of pages16
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemical flux
  • Heavy metal storage
  • Overbank sediment
  • Sediment flux
  • Yorkshire Ouse basin


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