Gaseous mercury emissions from natural sources in Canadian landscapes

W. H. Schroeder*, Steve Beauchamp, G. Edwards, Laurier Poissant, Pat Rasmussen, Rob Tordon, G. Dias, J. Kemp, B. Van Heyst, Cathy M. Banic

*Corresponding author for this work

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Field measurements of mercury air-surface exchange from natural settings were made in various Canadian landscapes. Soil and water samples were analyzed for mercury concentrations, and air-surface exchange fluxes from these substrates were determined using dynamic chamber, micrometeorological, or modeling methods. Environmental variables, including air and soil/water temperature, solar radiation, humidity, and wind speed, were monitored concurrently with the air-surface exchange to better understand the processes affecting the environmental cycling of mercury. Average mercury fluxes from aquatic landscapes ranged from 0.0 to 5.0 ng m-2 h-1 with total mercury concentration in water ranging from 0.3 to 6.5 ng L-1. A significant correlation (R2 = 0.47) was found between gaseous Hg fluxes and total Hg concentration in water. Mean gaseous Hg fluxes from forest soils varied from -0.4 to 2.2 ng m-2 h-1, while those from agricultural fields ranged from 1.1 to 2.9 ng m-2 h-1. Non-mineralized bedrock, sand, and fill sites yielded fluxes ranging from -0.03 to 5.9 ng m-2 h-1. Mean fluxes from mercuriferous geological substrates at various locations were large compared to non-mercuriferous sites, ranging from 9.1 to 1760 ng m-2 h-1, and represent natural emissions. The corresponding total mercury substrate concentrations ranged from 0.360 to 180 ppm. A significant correlation (R2 = 0.66) was found between Hg fluxes and total Hg concentrations in mineralized and non-mineralized substrates. These gaseous Hg flux measurements represent a significant contribution to understanding natural mercury cycling, but there are still insufficient data and knowledge of processes to properly scale up fluxes from natural sources in Canada.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberD18302
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2005
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright AGU [2005]. Originally published as Schroeder, W. H., S. Beauchamp, G. Edwards, L. Poissant, P. Rasmussen, R. Tordon, G. Dias, J. Kemp, B. Van Heyst, and C. M. Banic (2005), Gaseous mercury emissions from natural sources in Canadian landscapes, J. Geophys. Res., 110, D18302,
doi:10.1029/2004JD005699. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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