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Geochemical controls on dispersion of U and Th in Quaternary deposits, stream water, and aquatic plants in an area with a granite pluton
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0635-3718
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science. The Swedish Anglers Association, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7230-6509
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7230-6509
Tianjin University, Peoples Republic of China.
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2019 (English)In: Science of the Total Environment, ISSN 0048-9697, E-ISSN 1879-1026, Vol. 663, p. 16-28Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The weathering of U and/or Th rich granite plutons, which occurs worldwide, may serve as a potentially important, but as yet poorly defined source for U and Th in (sub-)surface environments. Here, we assessed the impact of an outcrop of such granite (5 km in diameter) and its erosional products on the distribution of U and Th in four nemo-boreal catchments. The results showed that (i) the pluton was enriched in both U and Th; and (ii) secondary U and Th phases were accumulated by peat/gyttja and in other Quaternary deposits with high contents of organic matter. Movement of the ice sheet during the latest glaciation led to dispersal of U- and Th-rich materials eroded from the pluton, resulting in a progressive increase in dissolved U and Th concentrations, as well as U concentrations in aquatic plants with increasing proximity to the pluton. The accumulation of U in the aquatic plants growing upon the pluton (100–365 mg kg−1, dry ash weight) shows that this rock represents a long-term risk for adjacent ecosystems. Dissolved pools of U and Th were correlated with those of dissolved organic matter (DOM) and were predicted to largely occur as organic complexes. This demonstrates the importance of DOM in the transport of U and Th in the catchments. Large fractions of Ca2UO2(CO3)30(aq) were modeled to occur in the stream with highest pH and alkalinity and thus, explain the strongly elevated U concentrations and fluxes in this particular stream. In future climate scenarios, boreal catchments will experience intensified runoff and warmer temperature that favor the production of hydrologically accessible DOM and alkalinity. Therefore, the results obtained from this study have implications for predicting the distribution and transport of Th and U in boreal catchments, especially those associated with U and/or Th rich granite plutons.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2019. Vol. 663, p. 16-28
Keywords [en]
Uranium, Thorium, Nemo-boreal catchments, Climate change, Weathering
National Category
Environmental Sciences Geochemistry
Research subject
Natural Science, Environmental Science; Natural Science, Environmental Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-80032DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.01.293ISI: 000459858500002PubMedID: 30708213Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85060730596OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-80032DiVA, id: diva2:1283818
Available from: 2019-01-30 Created: 2019-01-30 Last updated: 2019-08-29Bibliographically approved

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Yu, ChangxunBerger, TobiasDrake, HenrikPeltola, PasiÅström, Mats E.

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