Influence of anthropogenic activity on the lead isotope signature of Thau Lake sediments (southern France): origin and temporal evolution
Lead concentrations and isotopic compositions were determined on both bulk sediments deposited in the Thau lake in southern France during the last 200 years, and leachates derived from a series of sequential leachings of the sediments, making it possible to identify the sources, natural (i.e. indigenous lithologic) or anthropogenic, and to quantify the different inputs of Pb.Two distinct inputs of Pb could be distinguished. One of these corresponds to the terrigenous material entering the basin, representative of the local natural Pb ‘background’. Its supply remained steady most of the time with 206Pb/207Pb ratios of 1.200±0.003, except at the time of heavy storms producing voluminous and sudden depositions, such as that of September 1875. This Pb supply is mainly hosted by the detrital silicate fraction of the sediments. The second Pb input is a direct consequence of anthropogenic activities of various industrial and domestic emissions in the region, particularly due to the city of Sète and, to a lesser extent, to the villages in the watershed. The 206Pb/207Pb ratios of this input are of 1.142–1.162. The Pb added to gasoline could also be identified in the uppermost sediments, because of its specific 206Pb/207Pb ratios of 1.069–1.094. The leaching experiments also showed that the anthropogenic Pb is mainly hosted by the oxi-hydroxides of the sediments and to a lesser extent by the carbonates. It may also be adsorbed on particle surfaces, while only limited amounts are bound to organic matter.