Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 18, pp 18674–18686 | Cite as

The sedimentary record of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Yamzho Yumco Lake: evolution of local sources and adsorption dynamic in the Tibetan Plateau

  • Qi Wang
  • Jun Li
  • Xu-Chuan Duan
  • Guo-Li YuanEmail author
  • Bin Fang
  • An-Ting Wang
Research Article


With the rapid increase in anthropogenic activities, the local emissions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in background regions, such as the Tibetan Plateau (TP), have attracted great attention. The deposition of PAHs in lake sediments provides a historical evolutionary record of such compounds in these regions. To investigate the evolution of PAHs in the TP, two sedimentary cores from Yamzho Yumco Lake were collected and dated at high resolution, and the concentrations of 16 PAHs and sediment properties were also analyzed. The total concentrations of the 16 PAHs ranged from 6.52 to 57.97 ng/g (dry weight) in YC1 and from 0.91 to 4.57 ng/g (dry weight) in YC2. According to the methods of principal component analysis (PCA) followed by multilinear regression analysis (MLRA), four sources of PAHs in the sediments were qualitatively and quantitatively identified, such as petroleum combustion, petrogenic, coal combustion, and biomass burning. Thus, the historical evolution of PAHs was summarized. In addition, the transported distance from local PAH emission sources was found to greatly affect the composition and concentration of PAHs in sites YC1 and YC2. Specifically, local sources contributed a greater proportion of heavy molecular weight (HMW) PAHs in YC1 and a higher proportion of light-molecular-weight (LMW) PAHs in YC2. Moreover, fine particles (size < 20 μm) were found to play a significant role in adsorbing PAHs in sediments. Furthermore, ∑16PAHs in sediments were linearly correlated with the percentage of fine particles (size < 20 μm). This study provides a first example to investigate the historical evolution of PAH local emission in background regions by using lake sedimentary records, especially in the TP. Specifically, different local sources were identified using the methods of PCA followed by MLRA, and PAHs in TP sediments were predominantly adsorbed by fine particles rather than by total organic carbon (TOC) because the amount of TOC was limited.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons High-altitude lake Sedimentary record Source identification Adsorption Fine particles Tibet 



We sincerely thank Dr. ZY Xie of HZG Centre for Materials and Coastal Research GmbH, Germany, and the members of the Rongmanan Geological Survey Project of CUGB for their help in collecting the samples.

Funding information

This study was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41372249, 41872100) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2652018158, 2652018160).

Supplementary material

11356_2019_5182_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.3 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 1303 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qi Wang
    • 1
  • Jun Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xu-Chuan Duan
    • 1
  • Guo-Li Yuan
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Bin Fang
    • 3
  • An-Ting Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Earth Sciences and ResourcesChina University of GeosciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Biogeology and Environmental GeologyChina University of GeosciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.School of Water Resources and EnvironmentChina University of GeosciencesBeijingChina

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