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Modelling suspended sediment lead concentrations in contaminated peatland catchments using digital terrain analysis

Rothwell, James J. and Lindsay, John B. and Evans, Martin G. and Allott, Timothy (2010) Modelling suspended sediment lead concentrations in contaminated peatland catchments using digital terrain analysis. ISSN 1872-6992

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Abstract

Upland peat soils in close proximity to urban and industrial areas can be contaminated with high concentrations of atmospherically deposited lead. The peat soils of the Peak District (UK) are characterised by extensive eroding gullies. Fine-resolution digital topographic data were used to map the extent and depth of these gullies. Peat samples from eroding gully walls and suspended sediments were collected and analysed for lead content. Variability in lead concentrations of gully wall material and suspended sediments can be explained by differences in mean upslope gully depth. The lead content of suspended sediment exported from catchments characterised by shallow peat gullies is higher than that exported from catchments with deep peat gullies. The empirical relationship between sediment-associated lead concentration and mean upslope gully depth was combined with the gully depth mapping to produce a predictive spatial model of suspended sediment lead concentrations across the Peak District. This model may be particularly useful for catchment managers who are currently involved in the restoration of eroding peat soils in the Peak District uplands.

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