Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 1899–1906 | Cite as

Historical record of anthropogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in a lake sediment from the southern Tibetan Plateau

  • Ruiqiang Yang
  • Ruichen Zhou
  • Ting Xie
  • Chuanyong JingEmail author
Original Paper


High-altitude lake sediments can be used as natural archives to reconstruct the history of pollutants. In this work, the temporal distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) was determined in a sediment core collected from the southern Tibetan Plateau (TP), which was dated by using the 210Pb dating method and validated with the 137Cs fallout peak. The concentrations of the anthropogenic PAHs (Σ8PAH) in the sediment core ranged from 0.83 to 12 ng/g dw, and the fluxes of the Σ8PAH were in the range of 2.1–27 g/cm2/year. The temporal variations in the concentration and input flux of anthropogenic PAHs were low with little variability before the 1950s, and then gradually increased from the 1950s to the 1980s, and an accelerated increase was observed after the early 1980s. The content of total organic carbon played an insignificant role in affecting the time trends of PAHs in the sediment core. Diagnostic concentration fractions of PAH components indicate PAHs in the lake sediment of the southern TP which are mainly from biomass burning and/or from long-range atmospheric transport.


Sediment core Alpine lake PAHs Historical trend Tibetan Plateau 



This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21277167 and 21577164).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruiqiang Yang
    • 1
  • Ruichen Zhou
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ting Xie
    • 1
  • Chuanyong Jing
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry and EcotoxicologyResearch Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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