SP 44 Chapter 24: Application of GIS to a Study of Mercury in the Environment, Kejimkujik Park, Nova Scotia, Canada

From GIS For the Earth Sciences
by J.R. Harris, A.N. Rencz, D. Viljoen and N. O'Driscoll.

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This chapter is from GAC's Special Paper 44: "GIS For the Earth Sciences" editted by Dr. Jeff Harris. To purchase the entire book in hardcopy or disc formats, please see the Special Papers section of our bookstore.

ABSTRACT: A Geographic Information System (GIS), in concert with statistical analysis tools, are used to study the statistical and spatial relationships between mercury (Hg) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations in a variety of mediain Kejimkujik Park, south-central Nova Scotia, where high Hg concentrations have been found in loons and fish. The sampled media includes soil, humus, till, vegetation and water.

Humus and the Ah soil horizon exhibit the highest concentrations of Hg, followed by till and water. The GIS analysis of the various media and the integration of Hg anomaly maps using a simple boolean additive model, has established that anomalous Hg concentrations occur in specific areas within the park. The area around Big Dam Lake over the contact  zone between leucogranites and Goldenville rocks, and an area around Big Red Lake over biotite/muscovite-bearing granitoid rocks especially high in K, appear to be anomalous. Anomalous Hg and DOC concentrations in water primarily occur southeast of Kejimkujik Lake over sulphide-bearing Halifax Formation slates. These rocks may be a preferential source of Hg (biotite and sulphides as a sink for Hg). More importantly, the granitoids and slates may be more conducive to the formation of wetland environments that are characterized by lower pH and increased DOC. These factors are, perhaps, the main drivers in the bioaccumulation of Hg in the park.

Electronic Download - 24 pages (2006)
Geological Association of Canada

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