Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Geological Sciences


David M. Borrok


Concentration data alone are often insufficient to resolve metal sources. This study applies stable Zn and Cu isotopes to fingerprint and track the sources of these metals in a sediment core from Lake Ballinger near Seattle, Washington, USA. The base of the Lake Ballinger core pre-dates settlement in the region, while the upper sections record the impact of atmospheric emissions from the nearby Tacoma smelter, as well as Cu and Zn inputs from urban sources. δ66Zn and δ65Cu varied by 0.42 / and 0.29 /, respectively, over the >300 year core record. Isotopic changes were correlated with the pre-smelter period (δ66Zn = +0.30 /; δ65Cu = +0.77 /), a period of smelter operation (δ66Zn = +0.14 ±0.06 /; δ65Cu = +0.94 ± 0.1 /), and a post-smelting/stable urban land use period (δ66Zn = 0.00 ± 0.1 /; δ65Cu = +0.82 /). Rapid urbanization in the mid 1900's did not significantly impact the δ66Zn and δ65Cu smelter signatures, suggesting that increased metal loads during this time were derived mainly from mobilization of historically contaminated soils. Urban sources of Cu and Zn were dominant over the last 2 decades, and the δ66Zn measured for tire samples suggests tire wear is a likely source of Zinc.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

53 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Anita Thapalia