Elevated Concentrations of Actinides in Mono Lake

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Science  30 Apr 1982:
Vol. 216, Issue 4545, pp. 514-516
DOI: 10.1126/science.216.4545.514


Tetravalent thorium, pentavalent protactinium, hexavalent uranium, and plutonium (oxidation state uncertain) are present in much higher concentrations in Mono Lake, a saline, alkaline lake in eastern central California, than in seawater. Low ratios of actinium to protactinium and of americium to plutonium indicate that the concentrations of trivalent actinides are not similarly enhanced. The elevated concentrations of the ordinarily very insoluble actinides are maintained in solution by natural ligands, which inhibit their chemical removal from the water column, rather than by an unusually large rate of supply.