Reconstruction of atmospheric lead and heavy metal pollution in the Otrębowskie Brzegi peatland (S Poland)

Fatima Pawełczyk, Karolina Bloom, Witold Jucha, Adam Michczyński, Daniel Okupny, Jarosław Sikorski, Julita Tomkowiak, Ewelina Zając, Nathalie Fagel


We reconstruct palaeoenvironmental changes since the Late Holocene in the Orava–Nowy Targ Basin, with an emphasis on anthropogenic influence (Walker et al., 2018). This reconstruction employs multiproxy analyses of the Otrębowskie Brzegi poor fen. We combined radiocarbon and 210Pb dating with elemental geochemistry, stable lead isotopes, and palaeobotanical analyses. The core we investigated covers a period from 4200 ± 100 BC to the present, with a peat accumulation rate varying between 0.001 and 0.243 cm y–1. Heavy metal concentrations, Pb isotopic ratios, and a palynological analysis revealed a significant impact of human activities in the past. The highest concentration and accumulation rate of Pb, were found around 1950 AD. The 206Pb/207Pb quotient ranged between 1.168 and 1.223, with average value around 1.198. Most of the interpretation was based on Pb and its stable isotopes; however, other elements were also important indicators of natural and anthropogenic environmental changes. Our results revealed similarities between the geochemical composition of the peatland studied and other peatlands from the Orava–Nowy Targ Basin.


Pb isotopes; pollution; elemental record; human activity; 14C and 210Pb dating; palynological analysis

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