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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2018-360
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2018-360
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 30 Nov 2018

Research article | 30 Nov 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Reactive mercury flux measurements using cation exchange membranes

Matthieu B. Miller1, Mae S. Gustin2, and Grant C. Edwards1,† Matthieu B. Miller et al.
  • 1Faculty of Science and Engineering, Department of Environmental Science, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, 2113, Australia
  • 2Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science, University of Nevada, Reno NV, 89557, United States
  • deceased, 10 September 2018

Abstract. A method was developed to measure gaseous oxidized mercury (GOM) air-surface exchange using 2 replicated dynamic flux chambers (DFCs) in conjunction with cation exchange membrane (CEM) filters. The experimental design and method was developed and tested in a laboratory setting, using materials collected from industrial scale open pit gold mines in central Nevada, USA. Materials used included waste rock, heap leach ore, and tailings, with substrate concentrations ranging from 0.1 to 40μgg−1 total mercury (THg). CEM filters were used to capture GOM from the DFC sample lines while a Tekran® 2537A analyzer measured GEM concurrently. Previous and ongoing work demonstrated that CEM do not collect GEM and efficiently collects multiple compounds of GOM. Positive GOM emission rates up to 4000pgm−2h−1 were measured from tailings materials with high Hg substrate concentrations, and this has significant implication with respect to air-Hg surface exchange. GOM flux was variable for lower Hg concentration substrates, with both emission and deposition observed, and this was affected by ambient air GOM concentrations. For substrates that experienced GOM deposition, deposition velocities were in the range 0.01–0.07cms−1.

Matthieu B. Miller et al.
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Latest update: 18 Dec 2018
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Short summary
In the atmosphere there are 2 gaseous forms of mercury (Hg), elemental (Hgo) and oxidized compounds (GOM). Hgo is oxidized by gases such as ozone and chlorine compounds. GOM is readily deposited to ecosystems and converted to methylmercury (a subtle neurotoxin). Here we explain development of a method for measurement of GOM deposition and emission associated with surfaces, and demonstrate that both occur. This has significant implications, because no one has been able to do this successfully.
In the atmosphere there are 2 gaseous forms of mercury (Hg), elemental (Hgo) and oxidized...
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