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Enhanced mercury deposition by Amazonian orographic precipitation: Evidence from high-elevation Holocene records of the Lake Titicaca region (Bolivia)

Abstract : Very few studies have focused on historical mercury (Hg) deposition in the Southern Hemisphere, especially for the pre-mining period. Therefore, the respective contributions of Hg emissions from anthropogenic and natural sources are not fully constrained and the long-term influence of climate variability is still in debate. In this study, we reconstructed Hg depositions over the last 13,500 years based on two sedimentary records located at the fringe between Amazonia and the Altiplano. Multiproxy analyses carried on the same sedimentary archives (i.e. Hg accumulation rates (AR), major elements, total organic carbon, delta C-13 and pollen analyses) show evidence that Hg deposition has risen according to Amazonian orographic moisture and precipitation during the Holocene, except for the last 200 years, for which modem industry and goldmining overwhelmed the natural signal. Comparisons with existing Hg records indicated that metallurgy and volcanic emissions were not perceptible due to the eastern down-wind position of the sites. Altogether, it argues that the historical variability of Hg deposition in the central eastern Andes has been primarily driven by changes in Amazonian moisture. At least six main phases of higher Hg AR (2.6 +/- 1.4 mu m(-2) y(-1)) compared to baseline values (0.9 +/- 0.3 mu g m(-2) y(-1)) were identified over the Holocene. During the early and late Holocene, phases of higher Hg AR coincided with wet episodes recorded in Lake Titicaca and Sajama records. During the Middle Holocene arid phase, reconstructed wetter episodes by Hg together with vegetation dynamics were attributed to the set-up of moisture niches in the eastern flanks of the Andes. Comparisons to other paleoclimatic records supports the role of North Atlantic sea-surface temperature in forcing precipitation during the late Holocene period while other mechanisms allowing moisture niches by orography are discussed for the Mid-Holocene dry phase in the eastern Andes region.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02006591
Contributor : Christine Maury Referent Hal Edytem <>
Submitted on : Monday, February 4, 2019 - 4:45:11 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, April 30, 2020 - 10:20:03 AM

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  • HAL Id : hal-02006591, version 1

Citation

S. Guédron, M.-P. Ledru, K. Escobar-Torrez, A.L. Develle, E. Brisset. Enhanced mercury deposition by Amazonian orographic precipitation: Evidence from high-elevation Holocene records of the Lake Titicaca region (Bolivia). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, Elsevier, 2018, 511, pp.577-587. ⟨hal-02006591⟩

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