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The Biogeochemistry of the Amazon Basin$
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Michael E. McClain, Reynaldo Victoria, and Jeffrey E. Richey

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195114317

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195114317.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 October 2021

Trace hlements in the Mamstem Amazon River

Trace hlements in the Mamstem Amazon River

(p.307) 16 Trace hlements in the Mamstem Amazon River
The Biogeochemistry of the Amazon Basin

Patrick T. Seyler

Geraldo R. Boaventura

Oxford University Press

Measurements of trace metals in rivers are of substantial interest for researchers examining basic scientific questions related to geochemical weathering and transport and to scientists involved in pollution control evaluation. Trace metals in natural waters include essential elements such as cobalt, copper, zinc, manganese, iron, molybdenum, nickel, which may also be toxic at higher concentrations, and nonessential elements, which are toxic, such as cadmium, mercury and lead. Recent findings indicate that iron and, to a lesser extent, zinc and manganese play an important role in regulating the growth and ecology of phytoplankton (Martin et al. 1991), while in contrast, cadmium, arsenic, and mercury have long been recognized as poisonous to living organisms (see Pfeiffer et al. 1993, for a description of mercury problem in the Amazon basin). The release of potentially large quantities of these toxic metals, particularly in the river systems of industrialized countries, but also in tropical rivers, is an acute problem of great environmental concern. An understanding of the weathering and transport processes controlling the fate and flux of trace metals in pristine environments is important in evaluating the capacity of receiving waters to accommodate wastes without detrimental effects. The Amazon River system, which is relatively free of industrial and agricultural interference, represents an ideal case for the investigation of the origin and transport of trace metals. This understanding may also provide a scientific basis for the anticipated development of the Amazon basin. With regard to trace metals, Amazon River is still poorly documented. Martin and Meybeck (1979) and Martin and Gordeev (1986) presented a global tabulation of trace metal concentrations in particulate matter of major rivers including the Amazon, and Palmer and Edmond (1992) measured dissolved Fe, Al, and Sr concentrations in the Amazon mainstream and a number of its tributaries. Boyle et al. (1982) and Gordeev et al. (1990) published some data on Cu, Ni, Cd, and Ag dissolved concentrations at the mouth of the Amazon River and in its oceanic plume. Konhauser et al. (1994) reported the trace and rare earth elemental composition of sediments, soils and waters, mainly in the region of Manaus.

Keywords:   Amazon trough, Branco river, Colombia, Ecuador, Garimpos, Japura River, Madeira river, NASA, Obidos, Paleozoic

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