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Trace elements deposition in the Tierra del Fuego region (south Patagonia) by using lichen transplants after the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle (north Patagonia) volcanic eruption in 2011



Trace elements deposition in the Tierra del Fuego region (south Patagonia) by using lichen transplants after the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle (north Patagonia) volcanic eruption in 2011



Environmental Science and Pollution Research International 23(7): 6574-6583



Lichen Usnea barbata transplants were tested as a biomonitor of atmospheric deposition in an apparently pristine environment that is Tierra del Fuego region (Patagonia, Argentina). The present survey is connected with the volcanic eruption that started in north Patagonia on June 4, 2011 from the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano, Chile (north Patagonia, at 1700 km of distance of our sampling sites). Lichens were collected in September 2011 (one month of exposure) and September 2012 (1 year of exposure) in 27 sites covering the northern region of the province where trees are not present. The atmospheric deposition of 27 elements by using Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA) was determined in the collected samples. The first aim of the study was to evaluate the influence of the volcanic eruption on the regional atmospheric deposition comparing our results with baseline data we determined in U. barbata in 2006 in the same sites. The second aim was to test possible patterns of bioaccumulation between the two sampling campaigns after the volcanic eruption. With respect to 2006 baseline levels, we found significant higher levels for As, Ba, Co, Cr, Cs, Na, Sb and U in lichens collected after 1 month of exposure (first sampling campaign--2011). Between the two sampling campaigns (2011-2012) after the eruption, lichens reflected the natural contamination by volcanic ashes with significantly higher median levels of Br, Cr, Fe, K, Na, Sc, and Se. Results confirmed the very good aptitude of U. barbata to reflect the levels of elements in the environment at global scale and to reflect the volcanic emissions at distant places. Volcanic eruptions cause the emission in the atmosphere of elevated levels of particulate matter. In this regard, our findings demonstrate the importance to evaluate the metal composition of the particles to avoid possible health effects.

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Accession: 059149056

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PMID: 26637301

DOI: 10.1007/s11356-015-5858-8


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