Measurement of the Vertical Distribution of Gaseous Elemental Mercury Concentration in Soil Pore Air of Subtropical and Temperate Forests

Jun Zhou, Zhangwei Wang, Xiaoshan Zhang, Charles T. Driscoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Solid-gas-water phase partitioning of mercury (Hg) and the processes governing its diffusivity within soils are poorly studied. In this study, landscape and forest species dependences of gaseous elemental Hg (Hg(0)) in soil profiles (0-50 cm) were investigated over four seasons in eight subtropical (130 days) and temperate (96 days) forest plots. The vertical soil pore Hg(0) concentrations differed between subtropical (Masson pine, broad-leaved forest, and open field) and temperate (Chinese pine, larch, mixed broad-leaf forests, and open field) catchments, with annual averages ranging from 6.73 to 15.8 and 0.95 to 2.08 ng m-3, respectively. The highest Hg(0) concentrations in soil gas consistently occurred in the upper mineral or organic horizons, indicating immobilization of Hg(0) in mineral soils. A strongly positive relationship between pore Hg(0) concentrations and ratios of Hg to organic matter (SOM) in soils suggests that the vertical distribution of Hg(0) is related to soil Hg(0) formation by Hg(II) reduction and sorption to SOM. Temperature was also an important driver of Hg(0) production in soil pores. Based on measurements of soil-air Hg(0) exchange, diffusion coefficients (Ds) of Hg(0) between soil and atmosphere were calculated for field sites, providing a foundation for future development and validation of terrestrial Hg models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2132-2142
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume55
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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