An 800-Year Record of Atmospheric As, Mo, Sn, and Sb in Central Asia in High-Altitude Ice Cores from Mt. Qomolangma (Everest), Himalayas
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As, Mo, Sn, and Sb have been determined by inductively coupled plasma sector field mass spectrometry (ICP-SFMS) in 143 depth intervals of high-altitude ice cores from Mt. Everest, covering an 800-year time period from 1205 to 2002 AD. The results clearly demonstrate the long-term historical record of atmospheric transport and deposition of As, Mo, Sn, and Sb that has prevailed at high altitudes in the central Himalayas. Natural contributions, mainly from mineral dust, have dominated the atmospheric cycles of As, Mo, Sn, and to some extent Sb during the 700 years prior to the 20th century. Compared to those of the pre-1900 period, pronounced increases of both concentrations and crustal enrichment factors are observed since the 1970s, with the highest increase factor for Sn and the lowest for As. Such increases are attributed to anthropogenic emissions of these elements, largely from stationary fossil fuel combustion and nonferrous metals production, particularly in India. Our central Himalayan ice core record provides an explicit recognition of rising atmospheric As, Mo, Sn, and Sb pollution in response to rapid economic growth in central Asia.
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