Zinc Deposition in Acid Lakes: The Role of Diffusion

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Science  28 Jun 1985:
Vol. 228, Issue 4707, pp. 1524-1526
DOI: 10.1126/science.228.4707.1524


Steep negative concentration gradients of dissolved zinc are present between the overlying waters and the anoxic pore waters of two acid lakes. In the anoxic pore waters, the low zinc concentrations can be explained as due to the formation of relatively insoluble zinc sulfide minerals. Downward diffusive fluxes of dissolved zinc account for at least 50 to 75 percent of the recent zinc deposition to the sediments of these lakes. This downward diffusion occurs to a depth of 2 to 3 centimeters below the sediment water interface, where pronounced maxima in total zinc are observed. These subsurface peaks in total zinc have been interpreted as an indication of recent lake acidification. The present observations indicate that such subsurface peaks may also result from a diagenetic activity unrelated to recent changes in lake acidity.