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Gold, silver and other elements in aquatic bryophytes from a mineralised area of North Wales, U.K.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/01/1985
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Geochemical Exploration
Issue number3
Volume24
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)237-246
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Concentrations of Au, Ag, As, Cd and Sb in aquatic bryophytes collected from the Dolgellau Mineral Belt, North Wales, U.K. are reported. One aquatic liverwort, Scapania undulata (L) Dum. and two mosses, Fontinalis squamosa Hedw. and Racomitrium aciculare (Hedw.) Brid. were collected from sites upstream and downstream of the recently reopened Gwynfyndd Au mine. There was little inter-species variation in metal contents for these three bryophytes, but Scapania undulata appeared the most sensitive to changes in water concentrations of Ag, As and Sb. Gold concentrations varied little between the contaminated and control sites. Concentrations in the range < 4-18 ng Aug g-1 D.W. were typical background levels, while bryophytes collected immediately below the mine contained 6-45 ng Au g-1. Silver and Sb both showed more pronounced (∼ 5-10 fold) elevations above control concentrations in samples collected downstream of the mine. Background concentrations for these elements were 5-85 ng Ag g-1 and 0.15-1.3 μg Sb g-1. Arsenic concentrations downstream of the mine (160-1080 μg g-1) greatly exceeded the background range of 9-32 μg g-1. It is suggested, therefore, that As may be an ideal 'pathfinder' element when prospecting for auriferous deposits using aquatic bryophytes.