Impoverishment and Decrease of Metallic Elements Associated with Suspended Matter in the Gironde Estuary

  • J. H. Jouanneau
  • H. Etcheber
  • C. Latouche
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 9)

Abstract

It has been shown that in temperate climate estuaries, there exists an important upstream-downstream decrease of various metallic trace-elements linked with suspended matter (S.M.). Researchers have attributed this either to mixing processes between metal rich particles and impoverished particles, or to a solubilization process caused by a number of physico-chemical factors, salinity increase being the most popular.

During the past five years a number of our studies in the Garonne-Gironde estuarine system demonstrate the decrease and lead us to a new outlook on this phenomenon.

A study of some trace-elements (Zn, Ni, Cu, Pb) was carried out monthly. It revealed a drastic decrease of trace metal content of S.M. in the upper part of the estuary. This zone, while under the influence of the dynamic tide, is situated above the saline intrusion. The decrease here can account for up to 70% of the entire decrease in the estuary system and becomes more significant during high river flow when the saline intrusion and turbidity maximum are forced to the central estuary.

Geochemical fractionation has shown that Zn, for example, is mainly linked with the organic phase. Moreover, the upstream-downstream distribution of particulate organic carbon (P.O.C.) in the estuary corresponds to particulate metals. Therefore there is a Zn-POC seasonal cycle at the entrance to the estuary system and a considerable POC decrease independent of physico-chemical (S o/oo, To) or hydrodynamical (turbidity maximum) parameters.

A detailed study of the POC-particulate metal decrease in the upper part of the estuary suggests that this is caused by a dilution with impoverished particles of fluvial origin. These come either from periods of low flow: directly from turbidity maximum (which at that time is located upstream) or from periods of high flow: resuspension of estuary material previously deposited in the upstream zone of the Bordeaux.

Without transport of suspended matter from the ocean, particles impoverished in metals and POC in the central part of the estuary imply that there exists an impoverishment process in this part of the estuary. Therefore, the decrease which occurs in the upper estuary and impoverishment do not take place in the same zone nor are they of the same nature. Thus, it is of the utmost importance to distinguish clearly between the two phenomena.

Keywords

Trace Metal Metal Content Suspended Sediment Particulate Organic Carbon Suspended Matter 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. H. Jouanneau
    • 1
  • H. Etcheber
    • 1
  • C. Latouche
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut de Géologie du Bassin d’AquitaineUniversité de Bordeaux ITalence CedexFrance

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