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

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.


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

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