Geochemical Processes of Trace Metals in Fresh–Saline Water Interfaces. The Cases of Louros and Acheloos Estuaries

Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 59)


Fresh–saline water interfaces are sites of major transformations on the speciation and the distribution of trace metals, through complex processes. The present chapter considers trace metal geochemical processes at fresh–saline water interfaces of representative Greek riverine systems, namely of those of the perennial medium-sized Louros River and the big and highly fragmented Acheloos River. Dissolved and particulate metals, as well as metal fractions in the sediments, are considered in combination with physicochemical parameters, and mineral magnetic measurements are used for tracing the origin of particle populations (lithogenic, anthropogenic, authigenic), and their compositional alterations during their passage from the rivers, through the interfaces, to sea. The interfaces of the two systems have distinct characteristics both on a spatial and a temporal scale, thus allowing for a diversity of trace metal behaviour patterns to emerge. In the small, perennial Louros system, trace metals are trapped within the thin, yet stable salt wedge. In the heavily fragmented Acheloos system, variations of the water and sediment discharges have moved the active interface landwards, where due to the reduction of dilution effects by inert, detrital particles, the fingerprint of the authigenic and anthropogenic component of trace metals has become more pronounced. The results of the research carried out in the two distinctive fresh–saline water interface systems are important not only in order to enlighten us about the geochemical processes in nature, but also in order to provide the necessary knowledge to properly manage these systems for the benefit of the environment and the sustainable development of the impacted areas.


Distribution coefficient Estuarine mixing Salt wedge Sorption–desorption processes Trace metals 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry, Department of ChemistryNational and Kapodistrian University of AthensAthensGreece

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