eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
SINCE 1952
Earth Science cover
Estonian Journal of Earth Sciences
ISSN 1736-7557 (Electronic)
ISSN 1736-4728 (Print)
Impact Factor (2021): 0.811
Changes in heavy metal concentrations in the sediments of the Gulf of Finland over two decades; pp. 177–188

Henry Vallius, Tiiu Alliksaar, Sten Suuroja

The Gulf of Finland was studied in two international campaigns, in 1995 and 2014, with the purpose of mapping heavy metals in surface sediments. The data from the campaigns reveal that the situation with heavy metal concentrations has partly improved, but not at the same pace for all metals. Mercury concentrations have, on average, halved, and cadmium concentrations have decreased considerably across the Gulf of Finland. Copper and zinc show some moderate local increase, but the maximum increase of 61.5% for copper has occurred at the westernmost station. Similarly to the other metals, copper and zinc demonstrate a decrease at the easternmost station. Lead and chromium show a moderate overall decrease across the gulf, while arsenic shows a slight increase in the western part, but a general decrease in the rest of the gulf.

Most of the heavy metal data from 2014 exceed the threshold levels of the sediment quality guidelines, but not in a particularly high degree. We can thus report a very satisfactory general trend for all the studied elements except for zinc, which has not decreased to a degree that would be satisfactory and still exceeds the probable effects level at one site in sediments deeper than 5 cm.


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