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An Analysis of As, Pb, Fe, and Co in the Rio Tinto Estuary in Southwest Spain

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Master's thesis

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Spurred on by the trace metal contamination in the Mediterranean Sea, a possible source of this has been pursued by examining the Rio Tinto estuary in the southwest of Spain. Using the AA and the ICPMS, five metals were investigated to observe mixing in the Tinto Estuary arsenic, iron, lead, cobalt and thallium. If conservative mixing is observed in the estuary it can help prove that some trace metals may travel from the rivers Tinto and Odiel through the estuary, into the Atlantic coastal waters, and ultimately into the Mediterranean Sea. This would help to explain the high trace metal concentrations that are found in the Mediterranean. After analyzing the concentrations for these five metals, it can be seen that some of the metals clearly do undergo conservative mixing in the estuary, with Pb and Co providing the best examples of conservative mixing. The other metals, As and Fe have straight mixing curves but seem to be affected by the two different water masses that empty into the estuary and provide separate sources of contamination of these metals. Lastly TI was investigated and the results seem to correlate with the other metals however, it should be kept in mind when looking at the data produced from the analysis of TI, that the method used depends highly on the percent recovery and may not be very accurate.

Subject Categories:

  • Hydrology, Limnology and Potamology
  • Water Pollution and Control

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