Rapid release and changing sources of Pb in a mountainous watershed during extreme rainfall events

Kyeong Won Jo, Ji Hyung Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Although atmospheric Pb is known to accumulate in forest soils over time, little is known about the hydrologic Pb export from mountain forest soils. Short-term changes in Pb release and its sources during monsoon rainfall events were investigated in a mountainous watershed in the northern extreme of South Korea by combining intensive storm sampling with measurements of Pb concentrations and isotope ratios in soils and size-fractionated sediments. Biweekly monitoring of forest and agricultural streams showed relatively low dissolved Pb concentrations compared to those found in precipitation. Particulate Pb concentrations in both streams were higher than the dissolved concentrations and increased rapidly during rainfall events. Particulate Pb concentrations were substantially higher in the agricultural stream; the highest concentrations were associated with silt-size sediment followed by sand. A comparison of 206Pb/207Pb and 208Pb/ 206Pb among sediment fractions and source soils indicated that major sources for silt- and sand-associated Pb in the agricultural stream change between streambank and cropland soils, whereas Pb in the forest stream is primarily derived from forest floors. The results suggest that Pb isotopes can be efficiently applied to tracing short-term changes in sediment and Pb sources and that extreme rainfall events can significantly increase Pb mobilization from erosion-prone mountain soils.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9324-9329
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number24
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2010


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