Atmospheric deposition of Hg is the predominant pathway for Hg to reach sensitive ecosystems, but the importance of emissions on near-field deposition remains unclear. To better understand spatial variability in Hg deposition, mercury concentrations were analyzed in sediment cores from 12 lakes with undeveloped watersheds near to (<50 km) and remote from (>150 km) several major urban areas in the United States. Background and focusing corrected Hg fluxes and flux ratios (modern to background) in the near-urban lakes (68 ?? 6.9 ??g m -2 yr -1 and 9.8 ?? 4.8, respectively) greatly exceed those in the remote lakes (14 ?? 9.3 ??g m -2 yr -1 and 3.5 ?? 1.0) and the fluxes are strongly related to distance from the nearest major urban area (r 2 = 0.87) and to population and Hg emissions within 50-100 km of the lakes. Comparison to monitored wet deposition suggests that dry deposition is a major contributor of Hg to lakes near major urban areas. ?? 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Increased atmospheric deposition of mercury in reference lakes near major urban areas