Study of mercury and selected trace elements in soil in the Norwegian Arctic, Svalbard
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- Institutt for kjemi 
In this study elemental composition and soil organic matter (SOM) content of surface and mineral soils in Svalbard are presented. The aim is to provide new data on soils in the Arctic and to gain more knowledge about the role of the soil in the biogeochemical cycling of mercury (Hg). Concentrations are reported for As, Al, Cd, Cu, Cr, Fe, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb, S and Zn. Samples were taken in Adventdalen and the Bayelva area in 2015. The sampling areas were chosen to represent background values in Svalbard and to minimize local influences. We obtained a mean concentration of Hg of 0.110 ± 0.0346 µg/g in surface soils (range 0.0540 to 0.180 µg/g). Hg levels in the mineral soils were lower than in the surface soils (mean: 0.0279 ± 0.0073 µg/g; range: 0.0174 to 0.0401 µg/g). An average of soil organic matter content of 53.5 ± 10.8 % was determined. Hg strongly accumulates in the upper soil layer and significantly correlates with SOM and Cd. Hg concentrations in the surface soil were slightly lower compared to the humus layer in Norway and comparable to other levels in soils in the Arctic. An inverse association was found with elements attributed to the mineral soil and indicate that Hg is presumably derived from atmospheric deposition.