Atmospheric Trace Metals at Remote Northern and Southern Hemisphere Sites: Pollution or Natural?

Science  10 Jan 1975:
Vol. 187, Issue 4171, pp. 59-61
DOI: 10.1126/science.187.4171.59


The chemical composition of atmospheric particles collected near sea level over the North Atlantic indicates that Al, Sc, Mn, Fe, Co, Cr, Na, Mg, Ca, K, and Sr are derived from either crustal weathering or the ocean. The elements V, Zn, Cu, Cd, Pb, Sb, and Se are present in concentrations higher than expected from these sources. Although the V is probably derived from pollution sources on the North American continent, a comparison of enrichment factors relative to average crustal material for the remainder of these elements over the North Atlantic with enrichment factors for similar samples collected at the geographic South Pole suggests that the anomalously high enrichment factors may be due to natural rather than anthropogenic sources. A vapor phase for these metals may be involved at their source.