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Chemistry for Sustainable Development

2008 year, number 2

Time-Space Estimate of the Variation in a Level of Mercury Pollution of the Altai Atmosphere According to Layer-by-Layer Analysis of High Mountain Glacier Core of Belukha Mountain

N. S. Frolova, S. S. Eyrikh, T. S. Papina, M. Schwikowski
Keywords: high mountain glaciers, pollution of the atmosphere, mercury, layer-by-layer analysis, types of circulation, orographic barriers
Pages: 227-234


Time-space estimate of a level of mercury pollution of Altai atmosphere has been performed according to layer-by-layer analysis of high mountain glacier core sample that was taken by joint Russian-Swiss expedition in 2001 in a saddle of Belukha Mountain of the Altai hills (Katun ridge, Altai). The results arrived at have demonstrated that mercury content of glacier layers that had been shaped during the industrial time varies within the limits of 0.2-6.3 ng/kg and it is comparable with mercury level of alternative high mountain glaciers of the Northern hemisphere. Data of the layer-by-layer analysis of glacier core sample for a period of 1940 to 2001 testify that Aktash Mercury Integrated Works, a large local source of mercury, exerts no significant effect on the pollution of the atmosphere of the Western Altai. A calculation technique has been suggested to quantitatively estimate the regional component of mercury pollution of a territory. It has been found that the contribution of the regional component almost 3.5 times exceeds the contribution of the global component to the total present-day level of the pollution by mercury of the atmosphere of the Altai (Central Asian) region. A conclusion has been made that Altai-Sayan mercury province and industrial metallurgical centres of East Kazakhstan may act as the main sources in terms of the regional level of mercury pollution of the atmosphere of northwest part of the Altai territory.