Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Pollution on Top of the World

26.11.2010
Nearly one-fifth of the earth’s surface is comprised of mountains that play a role in the storage and distribution of fresh water, with one-tenth of the world’s population relying on that mountain snowpack as their sole source of fresh water.

Understanding the amount of pollutants in soil and snow is critical to maintaining the quality of alpine water sources, and is the subject of a study published in the Fall 2010 issue of Soil Survey Horizons, published by the Soil Science Society of America.

Researchers at the University of Southern Maine collected soil samples from Mount Everest’s Rongbuk glacier and snow samples were taken from the northeast ridge of the mountain. The samples were then analyzed for trace element concentrations, including cadmium, nickel, zinc, chromium, cobalt, arsenic, copper, manganese, mercury, vanadium, and magnesium.

The results of the study show that most trace elements were at acceptable levels. The amounts arsenic and cadmium in the snow samples, however, exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s drinking water standards, and the amount of arsenic in the soil samples was above the EPA’s screening guidelines.

Arsenic is associated with bladder, skin, and kidney cancer, while cadmium is linked to lung and prostate cancer through the ingestion of contaminated food and water. Both are the by-products of fossil fuel combustion.

Bill Yeo, who authored the study, suggests the levels are a result of the surrounding region’s rapid increase in industrialization. According to Yeo’s research, Asia is the leading contributor of atmospheric pollutants.

Other studies on neighboring mountains have revealed similar findings indicating the potential for multiple water sources to become contaminated. For this study, Mount Everest was selected because of its altitude and remoteness. Other research has been performed at comparable sites in Europe, Japan, Alaska, and New Zealand. Studies in Antarctica found concentrations three to four times lower than in Yeo’s analysis, illustrating that the amount of arsenic and cadmium on Everest came from human contributions.

This featured article of SSH is available for free access at www.soils.org/files/publications/soil-survey-horizons/ssh-fall-2010-feature.pdf until the next quarterly issue.

Soil Survey Horizons, www.soils.org/publications/soil-survey-horizons, is a medium for expressing ideas, problems, and philosophies concerning the study of soils in the field. Articles include research updates, soil news, history of soil survey, and personal essays from the lives of soil scientists. Soil Survey Horizons is published by the Soil Science Society of America.

The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a progressive, international scientific society that fosters the transfer of knowledge and practices to sustain global soils. Based in Madison, WI, and founded in 1936, SSSA is the professional home for 6,000+ members dedicated to advancing the field of soil science. It provides information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling, and wise land use.

SSSA supports its members by providing quality research-based publications, educational programs, certifications, and science policy initiatives via a Washington, DC, office. For more information, visit www.soils.org.

Sara Uttech | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.sciencesocieties.org
http://www.soils.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Upcycling 'fast fashion' to reduce waste and pollution
03.04.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>