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The long-term environmental behaviour of strontium and barium released from former mine workings in the granites of the Sunart region of Scotland, UK

Davidson, C.M. and Gibson, M.D. and Hamilton, E. and MacGillivary, B.H. and Reglinski, J. and Rezabal, E. (2005) The long-term environmental behaviour of strontium and barium released from former mine workings in the granites of the Sunart region of Scotland, UK. Chemosphere, 58 (6). pp. 793-798. ISSN 0045-6535

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Abstract

The concentrations of strontium and barium have been measured in water, sediment and the shells of mussels (Mytilus edulis) from a river system in the Sunart region of Scotland. UK. The aim was to establish the fate and mobility of these elements. which are slowly being released from old mine workings on the Strontian granites. Enhanced strontium (1500-2000 mug l(-1) and 250-290 mugl(-1)) and barium concentrations (316 mug l(-1) and 83 mug l(-1) ) were found in the waters originating from the two mine drains studied. Both element were also found at significant levels in the river sediment, taken from the vicinity of each drainage site (Sr: 225 mugg(-1) and 120-125 mugg(-1): Ba: 1380 mugg(-1) and 126-170 mugg (-1)). The data suggests that the sediments are acting as a reservoir for these group II cations from where the,, become distributed throughout the river system. Strontium is found to be incorporated into the shells (3.16 3.46 mugg(-1)) and pearl, (3.57 mugg(-1)) of the blue mussel. located at the estuarine margin some 10 km downstream. at values close to the maximum expected (3.3% by weight of the calcium content). The study presents a view of the fate of barium and itronijuni in a river system over a prolonged period of time. As such it provides valuable information for studies that seek to model the impact of the accidental release of barium and strontium (including the important radionuclide Sr-90) into the environment.