In this work we discuss the historical record of metals as derived from a sediment core from the Port of Maó (Minorca, Spain), the second natural largest harbour in Europe. The sedimentation rate derived from radionuclide profiles increased by a factor of five since the 1960s due to the urbanisation of the town waterfront. Metal concentrations showed two different trends: (i) Pb and Sn inputs started during the second half of the 19th century and remained relatively high until mid-20th century; and (ii) Ag, Cd, Ni, Zn, Cu and Cr accumulation began in the 1940s, peaking in the late 1970s. The commissioning of a submarine outfall in 1978 reduced metal concentrations in subsequently deposited sediments since, thereafter, urban and industrial wastes have been dumped out of the estuary. This study also shows that evaluating the quality of sediments on the basis of surface concentrations may be misleading. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
- Sediment chronology