Trace metal distribution in sediments of northern continental shelf of Crete Island, Eastern Mediterranean

TitleTrace metal distribution in sediments of northern continental shelf of Crete Island, Eastern Mediterranean
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsPoulos, S, Dounas C, Alexandrakis G, Koulouri P, Drakopoulos P
JournalEnvironmental Geology
Volume58
Issue4
Pages843-857
KeywordsAegean Sea, continental shelf, Cretan shelf, eastern mediterranean, human health, Pollution, sediment, trace metals
Abstract

The present study investigates the distribution of trace metals (Zn, Hg, Cd, Cu, and Pb), as indicators of pollution, in the surficial offshore shelf sediments along the northern coast of Heraklion Prefecture (Crete, Mediterranean Sea). The concentrations and the spatial distribution of the different trace metals, in relation to the sedimentological characteristics and the water circulation pattern of the entire continental shelf, are associated with human inshore sources of pollutants located along the coastline of the study area. Although the trace metal concentrations measured are higher than the background values, they are not considered to be dangerous to human health, as they are lower than the standard values given by the World Health Organisation, with only a few localised exceptions. Furthermore, results reveal the important role of local hydrodynamism that moves fine-grained material and associated trace metals offshore (seawards to wave breaking zone) and then transports them eastwards by entrapping them in the prevailing offshore shelf-water circulation.

DOI10.1007/s00254-008-1560-1
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