Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Magnetic Leaves Reveal Most Polluted Byways

19.10.2009
Tree leaves may be powerful tools for monitoring air quality and planning biking routes and walking paths, suggests a new study by scientists at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA, USA. The research will be presented at this month's Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America in Portland, Oregon.

Leaves along bus routes were up to 10 times more magnetic than leaves on quieter streets, the study found. That magnetism comes from tiny particles of pollution—such as iron oxides from diesel exhaust—that float through the air and either stick to leaves or grow right into them.

Geophysicist Bernie Housen and colleague Luigi Jovane collected several leaves from 15 trees in and around Bellingham. Five of the trees lay next to busy bus routes. Five sat on parallel but much quieter side streets. Five were in a rural area nearby.

Using two measurement techniques, Housen and Jovane found that leaves along bus routes were between two and 8 times more magnetic than leaves from nearby streets and between four and 10 times more magnetic than rural leaves.

Inhaling particulate matter has been linked to a number of negative health consequences, including breathing troubles and even heart problems. Tiny particles bypass the airways and get deep into the lung tissues.

The new study suggests that biking or walking along heavy bus routes might be as bad for your health as you might suspect when choking on exhaust fumes. That’s something cities might want to consider as they plan new routes for cyclists and pedestrians.

“I ride my bike to work every day,” Housen said. “I’ve always wondered what the effects of diesel exhaust are on my health.”

While many details remain to be worked out, the study also suggests that collecting tree leaves can be a simple and effective way to measure the load of particulate matter in the air. European researchers have been exploring the idea for a while, but this is one of the first studies to apply the technique in the United States.

“Using trees is a nice, low-tech way to do these studies and you don’t need to use fancy particle collectors,” Housen said. “If it works, you could easily collect a lot of data from a region. You could even have kids collect leaves. That makes it a powerful tool to see variation of particulate matter on a very detailed level.”

**WHEN & WHERE**

Monitoring impacts of mass-transit vehicles on particulate matter concentrations in urban environments using magnetic properties of tree leaves: Pilot study of bus and bike routes in Bellingham, WA
Sunday, 18 October 2009, 11:15-11:30 a.m.
Oregon Convention Center, Portland Ballrooms 251/258
View abstract at http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2009AM/finalprogram/abstract_164610.htm.

**CONTACT INFORMATION**

For on-site assistance during the 2009 Annual Meeting, 18-21 October, contact Christa Stratton in the Newsroom (7:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m. PDT), Oregon Convention Center, Room D133, +1-503-963-5708.

After the meeting contact:
Bernie Housen
Western Washington University, Geology Dept.
360-650-6573 (office)
bernieh@wwu.edu
http://myweb.facstaff.wwu.edu/bernieh/
**IMAGES AVAILABLE**
Images available at www.geosociety.org/news/pr/09-53.htm
For more information on the 2009 Meeting, visit http://www.geosociety.org/meetings/2009/.

Christa Stratton | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.geosociety.org

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Mars’ atmosphere well protected from the solar wind
08.12.2017 | Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council

nachricht Study reveals significant role of dust in mountain ecosystems
07.12.2017 | University of Wyoming

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

Im Focus: A transistor of graphene nanoribbons

Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."

Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

Blockchain is becoming more important in the energy market

05.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Making fuel out of thick air

08.12.2017 | Life Sciences

Rules for superconductivity mirrored in 'excitonic insulator'

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

Smartphone case offers blood glucose monitoring on the go

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>