The removal mechanisms that govern Se concentrations in the Great Salt Lake are unknown despite this terminal lake being an avian habitat of hemispheric importance. However, the volatilization flux of Se from the Great Salt Lake has not been previously measured due to challenges of analysis in this hypersaline environment This paper presents results from recent field studies examining the spatial distribution of dissolved volatile Se (areally and with depth) in the south arm (main body) of the Great Salt Lake. The analyses involved collection of dissolved volatile Se in a cryofocusing trap system via sparging with helium. The cryotrapped volatile Se was digested with nitric acid and analyzed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Results show concentrations of dissolved volatile Se that increase with depth in the shallow brine, suggesting that phytoplankton in the open waters and bioherms in shallow sites (<4 m in depth) may be responsible for volatile Se production. Volatile Se flux to the atmosphere was determined using mass transport models corrected to simulate the highly saline environment of the south arm of the Great Salt Lake. The estimated annual flux of volatile Se was 1455 kg/year within a range from 560 to 3780 kg Se/year for the 95% confidence interval and from 970 to 2180 kg Se/year within the 68% confidence interval. ?? 2009 American Chemical Society.
Additional publication details
Volatile selenium flux from the great Salt Lake, Utah