Navigation Links
Oldest record of human-caused lead pollution detected
Date:6/11/2013

PITTSBURGHHumans began contributing to environmental lead pollution as early as 8,000 years ago, according to a University of Pittsburgh research report.

The Pitt research team detected the oldest-discovered remains of human-derived lead pollution in the world in the northernmost region of Michigan, suggesting metal pollution from mining and other human activities appeared far earlier in North America than in Europe, Asia, and South America. Their findings are highlighted on the cover of the latest issue of Environmental Science & Technology.

"Humanity's environmental legacy spans thousands of years, back to times traditionally associated with hunter-gatherers. Our records indicate that the influence of early Native Americans on the environment can be detected using lake sediments," said David Pompeani, lead author of the research paper and a PhD candidate in Pitt's Department of Geology and Planetary Science. "These findings have important implications for interpreting both the archeological record and environmental history of the upper Great Lakes."

The University of Pittsburgh research teamwhich included, from Pitt's Department of Geology and Planetary Science, Mark Abbott, associate professor of paleoclimatology, and Daniel Bain, assistant professor of catchment science, along with Pitt alumnus Byron A. Steinman (A&S '11G)examined Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula because it is the largest source of pure native copper in North America. Early surveys of the region in the 1800s identified prehistoric human mining activity in the form of such tools as hammerstones, ladders, and pit mines.

The team from the Department of Geology and Planetary Science investigated the timing, location, and magnitude of ancient copper mining pollution. Sediments were collected in June 2010 from three lakes located near ancient mine pits. They analyzed the concentration of lead, titanium, magnesium, iron, and organic matter in the collected sediment coresfinding distinct decade- to century-scale increases in lead pollution preserved from thousands of years ago.

"These data suggest that measurable levels of lead were emitted by preagricultural societies mining copper on Keweenaw Peninsula starting as early as 8,000 years ago," said Pompeani. "Collectively, these records have confirmed, for the first time, that prehistoric pollution from the Michigan Copper Districts can be detected in the sediments found in nearby lakes."

By contrast, reconstructions of metal pollution from other parts of the world, such as Asia, Europe, and South America, only provide evidence for lead pollution during the last 3,000 years, said Pompeani.

"We're hopeful that our work can be used in the future to better understand past environmental changes," said Abbott.

The team is currently investigating places near other prehistoric copper mines surrounding Lake Superior.


'/>"/>

Contact: B. Rose Huber
rhuber@pitt.edu
412-624-4356
University of Pittsburgh
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New species of ancient rodents hint at what could be worlds oldest grasslands
2. Scientists find oldest occurrence of arthropods preserved in amber
3. Record-breaking grant: New research project to investigate the causes of mental disorders
4. 17th century Dutch explorers help the Atlas reach a major milestone -- 30 million records
5. BioLife Solutions Announces 7th Consecutive Quarter of Record Revenue
6. CDS Monarch Deploys DigitalPersona Strong Authentication Solutions for Secure Access to Electronic Medical Records
7. MIT-designed cooler preserves tuberculosis drugs, records doses
8. First ever videos of snow leopard mother and cubs in dens recorded in Mongolia
9. UF scientists find state record 87 eggs in largest python from Everglades
10. Chikyu sets a new world drilling-depth record of scientific ocean drilling
11. Sea surface temperatures reach record highs on Northeast continental shelf
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/20/2016)... -- VoiceIt is excited to announce its new marketing ... working together, VoiceIt and VoicePass will offer an ... slightly different approaches to voice biometrics, collaboration between ... Both companies ... "This marketing and technology partnership allows VoiceIt ...
(Date:5/12/2016)... 12, 2016 WearablesResearch.com , a brand ... overview results from the Q1 wave of its quarterly ... was consumers, receptivity to a program where they would ... health insurance company. "We were surprised to ... Michael LaColla , CEO of Troubadour Research, "primarily ...
(Date:5/3/2016)...  Neurotechnology, a provider of high-precision biometric identification ... Identification System (ABIS) , a complete system for ... can process multiple complex biometric transactions with high ... face or iris biometrics. It leverages the core ... MegaMatcher Accelerator , which have been used in ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Lawrence, MA (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 ... ... the Peel Plate® YM (Yeast and Mold) microbial test has received AOAC Research ... test platform of microbial tests introduced last year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network for electronics hardware ... . Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is to bring together ... built and brought to market. , The Design Lab is Supplyframe’s physical representation ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company ... to the medical community, has closed its Series A ... Nunez . "We have received a commitment ... capital we need to meet our current goals," stated ... us the runway to complete validation on the current ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 23, 2016 , ... Regulatory Compliance Associates® Inc. (RCA), a ... webinar on Performing Quality Investigations: Getting to Root Cause. This ... charge. , Incomplete investigations are still a major concern to the Regulatory Authorities ...
Breaking Biology Technology: