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HISTORICAL RECONSTRUCTION OF HEAVY
METAL CONCENTRATION IN THE GULF OF
CARIACO...

Conference Paper · January 2011

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HISTORICAL RECONSTRUCTION OF
HEAVY METAL CONCENTRATION IN
THE GULF OF CARIACO, VENEZUELA

López, F. M. 1, Senior, W. J. 1, Fermín, I. M. 1, Quejido, A. 2, Ruiz-
Fernández, A.C. 3, Sánchez-Cabeza, J. A. 2, Alonso-Hernández, C.
M. 4, Gómez-Mancebo, Ma. B. 2, Suárez, D.J 1.
1 Universidad de Oriente, Venezuela. 2 Centro de Investigaciones

Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (CIEMAT) Spain. 3
Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM-ICMYL), México. 4 Centro
de Estudios Ambientales de Cienfuegos (CEAC), Cuba.
INTRODUCTION

210-Pb activity is an useful technique in environmental investigation, to
determine sediments accumulation rates, geochronology, and to study metals.
Its activity decline exponentially with depth, and is inversely proportional to the
sedimentation rate at non-impacted ecosystem. Dating of sediments, combined Figure 2. Cariaco Gulf, Venezuela
with chemical profile, allow the study of the impact events in coastal zones. Coastal Zone
In the present study, we have investigated the history of metals concentrations
and sedimentation rates of recent sediments (100 years) in the Cariaco Gulf,
Venezuela (Fig. 1), an important fishery area at the Caribbean Sea, with
industrial, harbor, agricultural and urban activities (Fig. 2).

Mar Caribe 40º Golfo de México
METHOD
10.65 30º

Mar Caribe
A sediment core was collected up to 30 m depth. Dating
20º
technique is based on decay of 210-Pb, which was
Latitud W (Grados)

Venezuela
10.6 10º


measured from 210-Po by alpha spectrometry.
10.55
100º 90º 80º 70º 60º
Sedimentation rates were calculated from 210-Pb xs profiles,
and using the CRS model (constant rate supply).
Golfo de Cariaco
10.5 Metal concentration was obtained by FRX, and sediment
core grain size for laser difractometer.
10.45 Additionally analyses of organic carbon and total nitrogen
were realised in an elementary analyzer.
-64.3 -64.2 -64.1 -64 -63.9 -63.8 -63.7
Longitud N (Grados)

Figure 1. Cariaco Gulf, Venezuela
RESULTS

Sedimentation rates and organic carbon obtained increases with time, which seems to be related to the changes in the land use. On the other hand the metals exhibit
three different distributions: i) increase of the levels of the metal to middle 70´s (Cu, Cr, Cs). ii) Decrease in in that same period (Hg). iii) elevation in the period 1975-
1997 and diminution as of 1998 (Co, Mn, Ni, Si, V). Factorial analysis demonstrated the association of the majority metals with the sedimentation rate, and
independence of grain size (90 % silt). Also, continental contribution were observed, represented by the relation Organic Carbon-P-Total Nitrogen.
Sedimentation Rate Cu 0,9 P totalN
0,6 7,6 organiccarbon
Cs
g.cm-2.yr-1

0,5 0,5 V
7,2 Cu Cr Si Al
Factor 2

gcm_2yr_1
0,4 Ca As K
µg/g

6,8 0,1
Mg Ni Zn
0,3 Na
6,4 Co Pb
0,2 Mo Mn
6 -0,3
0,1 Hg
0 5,6 Silt
1898-1974 1975-1997 1998-2008 1898-1974 1975-1997 1998-2008 -0,7
-0,7 -0,4 -0,1 0,2 0,5 0,8 1,1
Years Years Factor 1
Hg Pb Figure 4. Factor analysis for metal, organic carbon, nutrients and sedimentation
(X 0,001) rate distribution in Cariaco Gulf, Venezuela.
85 9
75 8,5
65 8 CONCLUSIONS
µg/g

µg/g

55 7,5
45 7 Two processes were identified that have influence on the distribution of the studied
35 6,5 variables: (i) natural input with terrestrial material of Al, Co, Cr, Mg, Mn, Si, Zn, V,
25 6 and (ii) contribution of organic matter and nutrients, probably related to the
1898-1974 1975-1997 1998-2008 1898-1974 1975-1997 1998-2008
agricultural activity of the zone. Important increases of both processes and
Years Years sedimentation rate were observed in 1980's, due, probably, to changes in the
Figure 3. Sedimentation rate and heavy metal. Historical distribution in sediments economic activities of the area. A slight diminution of the concentrations of Pb was
of Cariaco Gulf, Venezuela observed in 1998, due to restrictions in the gasoline commercialization with Pb.

Acknowledgements
This study was supported by Internationl Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (Regional Project RLA/7/012)

España UNAM, México CEAC, Cuba IAEA