Historical variations in lead fluxes in the pyrenees (Northeast Spain) from a dated lake sediment core

L. Camarero, P. Masqué, W. Devos, I. Ani-Ragolta, J. Catalan, H. C. Moor, S. Pla, J. A. Sanchez-Cabeza

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59 Citations (Scopus)


Variations in Pb concentration in lake sediments reflect changes in the fluxes of this element in the past. A sediment core from a lake in the Pyrenees (Lake Redo at 2,240 m a.l., NE Spain) was studied, with the aim of reconstructing past environmental and climatic conditions in the lake and its catchment area. The core was dated using both 210Pb and 14C. A surface peak of Pb concentration, which was about 10 times higher than the background level, was found. This peak is attributed to mining activities since the beginning of this century. Although Pb pollution due to the combustion of gasoline is expected to be present, no evidence can be deduced from Pb isotope ratios for sediment due to the masking effect of Pb from mines. A second peak appeared in a deeper layer, with maximum Pb concentration of about 17 times higher than the background level. The origin of this peak is unclear. All evidence suggests that the ancient peak is due to mining operations in the central Pyrenees area, which were not documented historically.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-449
JournalWater, Air, and Soil Pollution
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 1998


  • 210 Pb- dating
  • Lake Redo
  • Lake sediments
  • Lead
  • Metal pollution
  • Mining
  • Pyrenees
  • Stable Pb isotopes

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