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Anthropogenic air pollution and environmental history (City Core)

Anthropogenic air pollution and environmental history (City Core)


For further info on the project contact:

  • Email -Peter Rasmussen: per@geus.dk
  • From the heart of Copenhagen we have cored the ancient mold to achieve new knowledge from sediment deposits related to anthropogenic activities. We have examined sediment cores with X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzers to correlate element patterns from urban and industrial emissions.
    We aim to track these patterns back in time - to long before the regular routines of recording atmospheric environments began around 1978. On another line of research we compare our data to alternative sources of information in order to constrain and expand the temporal dating limits (approximately 1890) achieved from 210Pb activity.
    From custom reports and statistic sources we obtain information on import volumes from coal, metal and oil and connect contaminants from these substances to the sediment archives. Most promising we find a steep increase in import of coal and metals in complete concord with an exponential increase of lead and zinc counts from XRF-recordings of the sediment cores. In this finding we claim to have nailed the birth of urban industrialization. In our research for 2011 we aim to find methods to locate eventual carbon horizons of 3 violent fires with massive destruction dating back to 1728.
    In order to further the use of DNA-extraction from lake sediments, sedaDNA, we attempt to trace the import of well documented exotic plants to the Botanical Garden. Through extraction and sampling of sedaDNA from these floral and arboreal specimens we intend to locate their stratigraphic horizons in the sediment core from the lake in the Botanical Garden. These findings may correlate data back to 1872, when the garden was established on the area of the former fortification. In this line of research, we hope to achieve important supplementary knowledge of sedaDNA-leaching frequencies within freshwater sediments.

    Further information

    Institutions involved in the project: Geological Museum, Natural History Museum of Denmark; The National Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland; Department of Geography & Geology, University of Copenhagen; Department of Earth Sciences, Aarhus University

    Edited by:
    Jacob Geltzer, GEUS - jgel@geus.dk

    Anthropogenic air pollution and environmental history (City Core